Fulfilling his election promise, President Donald Trump announced, on December 6, recognition of Jerusalem as the capital of Israel.
However, this reversal of long-time U.S. policy did not come out of blue. A series of reports published since December 6 unveil the role of major Arab countries in Trump's not-unexpected announcement.
Israeli journalist and head of the Arab desk at the Israeli channel News 10, Zvi Yehezkeli, said that the announcement could not have been made without coordination between Trump and his regional allies. News 10 claimed Saudi Arabia and Egypt gave US President Donald Trump the go-ahead to recognize Jerusalem as the capital of Israel and move the US embassy from Tel Aviv to the occupied city.
Egypt and Saudi Arabia's low-level representation at the Islamic summit on Jerusalem called by the current OIC head, President Recep Tayyib Erdogan of Turkey, perhaps gives credence to this Israeli report. US client Egyptian President President Abdel Fatah al-Sissi sent his foreign minister Sameh Shoukry while Saudi Arabia was represented by a junior minister, state minister for foreign affairs, Nizar Madani.
Istanbul Declaration announces E. Jerusalem capital of Palestine state
The Organization of Islamic Cooperation (OIC) issued the Istanbul Declaration on December 12 recognizing East Jerusalem as the capital of Palestine.
"We confirm that we recognize the state of Palestine with East Jerusalem as its capital, and call the world to recognize East Jerusalem as the occupied capital of Palestine," the declaration said.
The OIC was established during a historic summit in Rabat, Morocco, in 1969 following an arson attack on Al-Aqsa Mosque in occupied Jerusalem.
Turkish President Tayyip Erdogan told the OIC summit that the U.S. President Donald Trump's decision is a reward for Israeli "terror acts."
According to an Anadolu Agency report, Erdogan is now largely viewed as the spiritual leader of all Muslims around the world.
"President Erdogan is not only the leader of Turkey, he is also the spiritual leader of all Muslims around the world, in the view of many Muslim societies," Hamit Emrah Beris, a professor at Ankara's Gazi University, said, adding:
"Erdogan is trying to develop a common language and attitude for all Muslims but this approach is not compatible with the interests of many authoritarian governments in the region."
Tellingly, while the international community has almost unanimously disagreed with Donald Trump's announcement, reports suggest that the announcement was done with the pre-agreement of Egypt and Saudi Arabia, with Saudi Arabia going so far as advising the Palestinian President to accept a village on the outskirts of Jerusalem as the alternative Palestinian capital.
Saudi Arabia orders media outlets to limit coverage of Trump's Jerusalem move
Since the announcement, Saudi Arabia's royal court has instructed the nation's media outlets to limit the airtime given to protests against Trump's announcement.
According to a report by the Arab news portal The Middle East Monitor, the instructions were sent to managers of television and radio stations, as well as newspaper editors.