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The Jerusalem conundrum: why Trump’s statement matters

Politics has been insane the past week. Hyper-active would be an understatement. If you don’t know, Trump has reversed decades of progress (albeit, slow progress) by recognising Jerusalem as the capital of Israel, as opposed to Tel Aviv. Trump said:

Today we finally acknowledge the obvious, that Jerusalem is Israel’s capital.

This isn’t just about Palestine and Israel. This runs deeper. It involves all three Abrahamic faiths – Christianity, Judaism and Islam. Jerusalem doesn’t belong to one group of people. It belongs to Christians, Muslims, Jews, Armenians and everyone else in between.

 

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Jerusalem is home to many groups of people and contains many religious sites. Credit: BBC

 

Washington has always claimed that it would play a neutral role in the Palestinian-Israel conflict, but this latest statement undermines the whole claim. The manoeuvre by Trump has favoured the Israelis heavily. Allies of the US have condemned the decision but, in my opinion, condemnation doesn’t achieve anything. The United Kingdom’s response by Theresa May was rather weak, and France, Saudi and other allies of the United States followed suit.

However, it was interesting to note that Angela Merkel took a stand. Her foreign secretary, Sigmar Gabriel, said:

Germany’s position on this issue remains unchanged: A solution to the Jerusalem problem can only be found through direct negotiations between both parties. Everything which worsens the crisis is counterproductive.

We cannot ignore that fact that the President of the United States has the power to change capitals. It is bizarre, to say the least. Does a president have that power? To change a sovereign states capital? Like, how does that work?

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Donald Trump and Benjamin Netanyahu have unfolded decades of progress – and the effects are already causing chaos. Credits: BBC

Pakistan has spoken out, saying this decision is an invasion of international law. The Foreign Office said:

 “Pakistan joins the international community in expressing its strong opposition and condemnation at the decision of the US Administration to recognize the occupied city of Al Quds Al-Sharif (Jerusalem) as the so-called capital of Israel and the plan to relocate its Embassy there,”

They said it goes against UN Security Council resolutions, particularly UNSCR 478. This resolution was passed on 20 August 1980, and is one of seven UNSC resolutions against Israel’s attempt to annex East Jerusalem. Read up about it, it was actually a violation of international law.

Qatar’s emir has also warned Trump that his decision to recognise Jerusalem as Israel’s capital would have “serious repercussions”, according to a statement from Doha’s foreign ministry on Thursday.

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The world reacted in outrage with the media from all over the Middle East have reacted in fury. Credit: BBC Monitoring

Protests from NYC to Turkey have been ongoing. Paris, London, Berlin, many big cities have held protests to oppose this decision by Trump.

It has nearly been a week since Trump’s announcement – and the devastation is just unfolding. Violence is widespread, least of all in Jerusalem alone. The fact that more Palestinians die as opposed to Israelis cannot within the Israel-Gaza conflicts cannot be disputed. During 2014, over 2,000 Palestinians died, nearly a quarter were children. 70 Israelis died, six were civilians. This is often from the hands of the IDF (Israeli Defence Force). Rockets are being fired left, right and centre, and civilians are paying the price for this decision.

Out of all the actions, Trump could have made, he chose to do this. As others have said through the media, this is adding fuel to the ongoing fire. He has set back peace for years to come. This has just allowed more bloodshed, more violence and more anger to be unleashed. This decision harms all involved and will not end well for anyone. The biggest victims in this grave decision will be the citizens of Jerusalem.

 

Feature image: BBC

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