With trump formally recognizing Jerusalem as Israel’s capital, could have major consequences. Never before has this action further unsettled our presence in the Middle East.
According to the second video in this blog post, and an article in The Guardian, by breaking with tradition and recognizing Jerusalem as the capital of Israel it did two things:
- It ruined the credibility of the United States
- It further undermined the security in the Middle East
The region is bracing for the prospect of unrest in anticipation of the declaration, due at 1pm in Washington, and US embassies around the world have been advised by the state department to bolster their security.
US government employees have been told to avoid Jerusalem’s Old City and the West Bank until further notice.
Social media reactions to Trump’s recognizing Jerusalem as Israel’s capitol were mixed.
Israel routinely describes Jerusalem with its Jewish, Muslim and Christian holy places, as its “united and eternal” capital. But its history is inextricably bound up with the bigger picture of the conflict. Seventy years ago, at the violent end of British rule, when the UN voted to partition Palestine into Jewish and Arab states, Jerusalem was defined as a separate entity under international supervision.
Hard facts on the ground dictated otherwise. In the war of 1948 it was divided, like Berlin in the cold war, into western and eastern sectors under Israeli and Jordanian control respectively. Nineteen years later, in June 1967, Israel captured the eastern side, expanded the city’s boundaries and annexed it – an act that was never recognized internationally.
According to Palestinian, Arab and European officials who have heard Mr. Abbas’s version of the conversation, Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman presented a plan that would be more tilted toward the Israelis than any ever embraced by the American government, one that presumably no Palestinian leader could ever accept.
The Palestinians would get a state of their own, but only noncontiguous parts of the West Bank and only limited sovereignty over their own territory. The vast majority of Israeli settlements in the West Bank, which most of the world considers illegal, would remain. The Palestinians would not be given East Jerusalem as their capital and there would be no right of return for Palestinian refugees and their descendants.
Israeli Prime Mit ister Bejamin Netanyahu had no intention of giving the Palestinians their own state, even though he made promises to do so in the past. This was the same man who didn’t have any answer to the Iranian nuclear crisis more than two years ago. He remained silent on the U.S. Embassy move from Tel Aviv to Jerusalem, earlier, but thanked Trump for formally recognizing the city as its capital. Netanyahu remained focused on the Iranian nuclear threat.
Netanyahu said that any peace negotiations with the Palestinians must include them recognizing the embattled city as its capital and later urged other allies to move their embassies to Jerusalem.
As predicted, because of Trump’s announcement about recognizing Jerusalem as Israel’s capital, violence erupted in Palestinian territories in the West Bank and East Jerusalem over the U.S. moving its embassy to Jerusalem from Tel Aviv.
Trump seems to have identified Bin Salman as committed to internal reform, confrontation with Iran and to securing Israeli-Palestinian peace. If Washington cares about the view from Riyadh, Saudi Arabia’s public statement on Tuesday that it opposes US recognition of Jerusalem as Israel’s capital may help prevent this needlessly provocative move from taking place – at least for now.