0718 GMT December 17, 2017
Leader of the Islamic Revolution Ayatollah Seyyed Ali Khamenei said the Muslim world will stand against a US plot to declare Beit-ul-Moqaddas as Israel’s “capital,” stressing that Palestine will eventually be freed from occupation.
Speaking on Wednesday on the occasion of the birth anniversary of Prophet Muhammad (PBUH), Ayatollah Khamenei stated, “Palestine today tops the political issues facing the Islamic Ummah and everyone is duty-bound to make endeavors towards its freedom and salvage," Press TV reported.
The Leader made the remarks in an address to state officials, ambassadors of Muslim countries and participants at the 31st International Islamic Unity Conference in Tehran.
Ayatollah Khamenei said that the enemies’ plan to recognize Beit-ul-Moqaddas as the “capital” of the Israeli regime stems from their “incompetence and despair.”
“The Muslim world would undoubtedly stand against this conspiracy and the Zionists will be dealt with a heavy blow with this move and dear Palestine will at last be liberated without doubt,” he added.
Prior to the leader's address, President Hassan Rouhani said in a speech, “Quds belongs to Islam, Muslims and the Palestinians, and there is no room for new adventurism by global arrogance.”
In a phone conversation with his Turkish counterpart Recep Tayyip Erdogan on Wednesday, Rouhani warned the US against relocating its Israel Embassy, saying the "illegal" move would further destabilize Palestine and the region.
US President Donald Trump had plans to announce the recognition of Beit-ul-Moqaddas as the Israeli “capital” on Wednesday and move Washington’s Embassy from Tel Aviv to the occupied city.
The US bid has drawn a wave of condemnations from various countries and international bodies.
In a frantic series of calls, the leaders of Turkey, Saudi Arabia, Egypt, Jordan, the European Union, France and Germany all warned Trump against the move, AFP reported.
Anticipating protests, US government officials and their families have been ordered to avoid Beit-ul-Moqaddas’ Old City and the West Bank.
"I cannot silence my deep concern over the situation that has emerged in recent days," Pope Francis said.
"Jerusalem [Beit-ul-Moqaddas] is a unique city, sacred for Jews, Christians and Muslims," he said, a day after speaking by phone with Palestinian President Mahmud Abbas.
British Foreign Minister Boris Johnson, speaking as he arrived for a NATO meeting in Brussels, said "we view the reports that we have heard with concern, because we think that Jerusalem [Beit-ul-Moqaddas] obviously should be part of the final settlement between the Israelis and the Palestinians, a negotiated settlement."
China warned the plan could fuel tensions in the region and Turkey said it risked igniting a "fire" in the Middle East.
Erdogan's spokesman said he had called for a summit of the Organization of Islamic Cooperation, the main pan-Islamic body, in Istanbul on December 13 "to display joint action among Islamic countries" over Beit-ul-Moqaddas.
Jordan and the Palestinians also called for an emergency meeting of the Arab League in Cairo, with a diplomatic source saying it was likely to be convened on Saturday.
But in a surprise, Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu refrained from commenting on the issue on Wednesday in his first speech since Trump's plan was confirmed.
Most of the international community does not formally recognize Beit-ul-Moqaddas as Israel's capital, insisting the issue can only be resolved in final status negotiations.
Palestinians were calling for three days of protests starting from Wednesday.
Saudi Arabia's King Salman warned his close ally that moving the US Embassy was a "dangerous step" that could rile Muslims around the world.
Israel occupied the largely Arab eastern sector of Beit-ul-Moqaddas during the 1967 Six-Day War and later annexed it, claiming both sides of the city as its capital.