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An illegitimate capital for a state without legitimacy

Demonstrators shout slogans and hold Palestinian flags during a protest against the US President Donald Trump’s recognition of Jerusalem as Israel’s capital, on 7 December 2017 in Gaza City, Gaza [Mustafa Hassona/Anadolu Agency]

It should come as no surprise that Donald Trump has declared that the US is recognising Jerusalem as the capital of Israel. For seasoned US-Israel watchers, it merely confirms what we have been saying for decades: Washington is no honest broker in negotiations to end the Palestine-Israel conflict. Quite the opposite, in fact; it has ensured that the odds have been stacked in Israel’s favour and turned a blind eye to its contempt for international law — which Trump clearly shares — even while its brutal military occupation has stolen ever more Palestinian land throughout the seven decades since 1948.

US recognition of Israel’s self-declared capital has no legal basis. The 1947 UN Partition Plan for Palestine, upon which Israel largely bases its international legitimacy, had three components: “Independent Arab and Jewish States and the Special International Regime for the City of Jerusalem”. Only one of these has come into being, primarily because Israel and its backers haven’t allowed the others to happen. What’s more, although the borders of the “Arab and Jewish States” were set out clearly by the UN, Israel took possession of more than its allocation, including West Jerusalem. It took the rest of the city in 1967 along with the remaining land designated for the “Arab State”, and went on to annex the Holy City; this has never been recognised by the rest of the world and, legally, Jerusalem remains “occupied territory”, as do the West Bank and Gaza Strip.

Trump’s move on Jerusalem: Is this the end of US diplomacy in the Middle East

Hence, if we are to be accurate, whenever we discuss the Israeli occupation, this should refer to the West Bank, Gaza Strip and other land now accepted to be part of Israel which it has occupied since the 1949 Armistice. While paying lip-service to the UN Partition Plan for its own legitimacy, Israel continues to ignore the terms of the resolution in almost every respect. A glance at the “Disappearing Palestine” maps confirms this unpleasant fact on the ground.


Ignoring the UN is the norm for Israel; it has violated 28 UN Security Council Resolutions — which are supposed to be binding on UN member states — and ignored at least 40 non-binding General Assembly Resolutions. There is a strong case for throwing Israel out of the UN, given such a record and the fact that its membership in the first place was dependent on allowing Palestinian refugees to return to their homes. This has never been permitted by Israel, and the UN has been unable or unwilling to enforce the will of the international community.

In part, of course, this is because of the diplomatic protection given to Israel by the United States, which has used its veto in the Security Council to block resolutions critical of Israel at least 40 times since 1972. It also reflects the impotence of Europe in the face of whatever power the pro-Israel lobby has over its politicians. European guilt over the Holocaust, perhaps? Or something more mundane, such as electoral influence and donations? Or maybe a combination of the two.

Jerusalem is occupied, US cannot change status quo

Whatever it is, we can’t pin the blame entirely on Trump and the US; European complicity has also played a role in allowing Israel to act with impunity, as has the collaboration of the Palestinian Authority in what President Mahmoud Abbas has called its “sacred” security cooperation with the occupying state. Indeed, as is now becoming clear, it seems as if major Arab countries have been involved in their own, under the radar, collaboration with Israel by establishing now very open links with the Zionist state.

It is hard to know at the moment if Trump actually understands what impact his move on Jerusalem will have on the people in the region. None of us knows for certain, of course, but it doesn’t take a genius to work out that the prospects for a just peace are now even more remote. A peace of sorts could be imposed by brute force, no doubt, but it would never be based on justice; and it would never last.

Do the US President and his right-wing supporters care about this? Probably not. America’s Christian Zionists largely back him to the hilt, and they aren’t interested in peace; they see the establishment of the state of Israel and the “incoming of the exiles” (the Jews) as an essential prelude to the second coming of Jesus and “the rapture”; ultimately, in fact, the end of the world. The late Grace Halsell explained this thinking in her 1999 book “Forcing God’s Hand”. Israel exploits this through its lobby groups around the world to gain political, military and economic support.

What was Trump thinking? Simple. Why delay the inevitable?

What effect will Trump’s declaration have on the Palestinians for whom Jerusalem is home? Will Israel complete the ethnic cleansing of the city by forcing them out and bringing their complete ethnic cleansing a step closer? With the US watching its back, it is perfectly feasible that the far-right government of Benjamin Netanyahu will feel emboldened enough to do this.

Another option would be for the Jerusalemite Palestinians to be offered Israeli citizenship, but that would upset those who already see Israel’s 20 per cent non-Jewish citizens as a democratic threat to the “Jewish State”. The likelihood, therefore, is that Israeli Apartheid will simply be entrenched further and those Palestinians left in occupied Jerusalem will face yet more discrimination at the hands of an overtly racist government.

Pro-Israel lobbyists are forever bleating that the campaign for justice for and by the Palestinians seeks to “de-legitimise” the state, but they have yet to explain with any credibility the validity of its credentials; in truth, there is none. Israel’s latest poodle in Washington has now recognised an illegitimate capital for a state without legitimacy.

The flags of Israel and the US are reflected by Israeli authorities on western parts of the historical walls around the Old City of occupied Jerusalem to mark US President Donald Trump's speech regarding the recognition of Jerusalem as Israel’s capital on December 6, 2017. [Mostafa Alkharouf/Anadolu Agency]

The flags of Israel and the US are reflected by Israeli authorities on western parts of the historical walls around the Old City of occupied Jerusalem to mark US President Donald Trump’s speech regarding the recognition of Jerusalem as Israel’s capital on December 6, 2017. [Mostafa Alkharouf/Anadolu Agency]

Moreover, Israel has become a rogue state par excellence; not only is its star rising— for now — but it has also been incredibly successful in convincing the major powers in the world that it is the innocent victim in all of this. However, it is no longer surrounded by hostile states; the “self-defence and security” excuse for its vile occupation and military offensives against Palestinian civilians is unravelling as Saudi Arabia and the UAE join Jordan and Egypt in tying their camels and putting their trust in Tel Aviv.

Israel is ticking the boxes on its wish list. The battle for Jerusalem appears to have been won. After incessant Jewish colonial-settler incursions into the Noble Sanctuary — which will be viewed in the future as its initial skirmishes — the battle for Al-Aqsa Mosque, the heart of the Palestinian and Muslim presence in the Holy Land, may well be about to start in earnest. Recognition of Jerusalem as Israel’s capital is just the beginning. The next target will be to occupy and demolish Al-Aqsa and the Dome of the Rock Mosques and build a temple in their place. The blueprints for this are already prepared.

With the villain of the piece portrayed as the victim — poor little Israel — and those with international law and justice on their side demonised as wrongdoers, the days of the False Messiah may well be upon us. Anyone for Armageddon?

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  • Kaminoyona

    Maybe the Arabs should accepted their state instead of refusing it to wage war….
    The Arabs refused their state and that Jerusalem should be an international city in order to kill and plunder.

    Israel accepted their state legally.

    Pure propaganda from the Islamists as per norm on this site.

    • Wesley Stubbs Sandel

      Right – “Maybe the native Palestinians should just accept that they’re not human beings and have no human rights.”

      It’s that “special” zionist logic.

  • ricck lineheart

    Israel brought to the world by the U.S.Taxpayers and corrupt politicians that became prostitutes for Zionism …

  • Fasdunkle

    Standard nonsense from the far right hewitt

  • charles soltau

    So nice to see someone remember there were to be 2 states and Jerusalem under special International Regime (UN). But you got some facts and causes wrong. Why no Arab State? The Arab world refused to accept a Jewish state in the holly lands so they sought to remove the Israelis by force. They not only lost but gave Israel the chance to expand their boarders. The Arab land was now under occupation of Jordan or Egypt and the people had UN support. Christen and Jews were driven out of east Jerusalem and Jews in Arab countries fled for their lives. Most went to Israel and the Arabs complain that Jews came from other countries. Then in 1967 Egypt, Jordan and Syria were massing their armies on the boarders of Israel as well as Nasser’s radio broadcast boasting how they were preparing to push Israel into the sea. I believe they also blocked the Gulf of Aqaba. Israel went on the offensive and expanded its boarders again. The West bank and Gaza were now controlled by Israel. I saw Golda Meir for Israel at the UN beg the Arabs to make peace and they would go back to the original boarders. Saudi was the strongest opponent against any agreement with Israel. If the Arabs had succeeded in 1948 there would be no Palestinians, they would have divided it between themselves. Will we allow this to continue for another 70 years? If you do something the same way over and over but it fails every time, do you believe doing it again will succeed. We have now changed the formula. Now add a deadline and if they haven’t agreed by then what is agreed is it and the points not agreed will go to the world court and their ruling is binding by both. This will not take 70 years. They just need an incentive and maybe Jerusalem will be run by the UN and the capital of both. So what I see is the Arab Countries caused there to be no State for the Palestinians and should compensate the Palestinians for 70 years of suffering. Why not force China to free Tibet or Russia to give back the Crimea, it will not happen.

    • Leonard Lehrman

      Borders, not boarders. Boarders are people who board!

    • Wesley Stubbs Sandel

      Jebus! “The people who supported the native Palestinians in their struggle against Jewish racism, terrorism, colonialism, mass murder, ethnic cleansing and apartheid are responsible for Israel’s six-decade-long campaign of savage terrorism and ethnic cleansing, not the Jewish colonists who spent decades blowing up bombs in crowded buses, markets and cafes, massacring entire villages and conducting ethnic cleansing campaigns.”

      It’s that “special” zionist logic!

      • eichler1

        So where is all this “Jewish racism?” Been to Israel lately? It is quite racially mixed, more so than in many parts of the US, and with all sharing equally in the rights conferred by the state, which exceed those accorded by the US to its citizens, including single-payer healthcare and highly subsidized college education and transportation. There is a reason Israel has a higher proportion of college-educated people than any country outside Canada. And, yes, Israeli Arabs participate and get these benefits just like everyone else. Colonialism? Terrorism? Where do you live? Does your government NOT conduct such activities? If not, tend your own garden before jumping into others or stand to be called a hypocrite. “Mass murder”? Do you mean the Arabs occupying Israel who ram innocent people with cars, stab them, shoot them and fire rockets at them? Because that is the “mass murder” going on in Israel, not perpetrated by Israelis. You want savage terrorism and ethnic cleansing? There were once 800,000 Jews in Arab countries; now they are all gone. Where’s your criticism for “savagery” and “ethnic cleansing” relating to those countries?

        • Wesley Stubbs Sandel

          Zionism is racism and colonialism. Israel is the only apartheid state in the world and it has over fifty racist laws that privilege jews and discriminate against non-Jews, including a miscegenation law. As for Israel’s health care – it’s all paid for with US tax dollars.

          Palestinian resistance to Israeli racism, terrorism, colonialism, mass murder, ethnic cleansing and apartheid is synonymous to the French and Russian Resistance movements – Israel was created by European Jews who colonized a land that had been overwhelmingly non-Jewish for two thousand years through decades of savage terrorism targeting the defenseless, native Palestinian population, including blowing up bombs in crowded buses, markets and cafes and conducting two ethnic cleansing campaigns in which the Jewish colonists forced one million defenseless, native Palestinian Christians and Muslims from their homes at gunpoint, executing anyone who couldn’t or wouldn’t flee, massacring entire villages, raping women and then systematically destroying over 400 Palestinian towns and villages.

      • eichler1

        Also, as to “apartheid” state intentions, note that “Palestinian” front groups have logos showing all of Israel as “Palestine,” and they go to marches, changing “From the River to the Sea.” If you know anything about geography, then you know they mean from the Jordan to the Mediterranean. In other words, they seek to wipe Israel off the map, a mass ethnic cleansing project. Also, check Hamas’s charter – same thing.

        • Wesley Stubbs Sandel

          Meanwhile, back in the real world, apartheid is a legal term with a set of specific criteria and Israel is the only state in the world that meets every one of those criteria. But I love the baloney about how evil the native Palestinian population is because it resists Israeli racism, terrorism, colonialism, mass murder, ethnic cleansing and apartheid. Tell us more.

      • sharonsj

        No, but you certainly have special racist logic. If Israel had ethnically cleansed Palestinians then there would be none left, but Israel is 20% Arab. When East Jerusalem and the West Bank were occupied by Jordan, of all the Jewish inhabitants were ethnically cleansed. (Gaza also got rid of the Jews.) And the Palestinian population throughout the area has only increased. Meanwhile, the Jews have been ethnically cleansed from virtually every Middle Eastern country, but that fact is forgotten. So is the fact that Christians in Gaza and the West Bank are being forced out by the Muslims. And the Palestinians continually proclaim that when they have their state, no Jews will be allowed.

        • Wesley Stubbs Sandel

          ” If Israel had ethnically cleansed Palestinians then there would be none left,” Right, just like if the nazis has committed genocide on the Jews then there would be none left? There are over five million registered Christian and Muslim Palestinian refugees from Israeli racist terror and ethnic cleansing campaigns.

      • Steamdude

        Tsk Tsk. Such a double standard.

        • Wesley Stubbs Sandel

          Meanwhile, back in the real world, every human rights organization that monitors the conflict, including the UN and some excellent Israeli ones all report that the Israelis are subjecting the five million defenseless Christian and Muslim Palestinians in East Jerusalem, Gaza and the West Bank to systematic, violent racist oppression daily.

          • Steamdude

            I’m not defending that. Just pointing out the double standard. If a Jew sells his land to an Arab, his neighbors say “bad Jew”. If any Arab sells his land to a Jew, they kill his family. Double standard.

          • Wesley Stubbs Sandel

            Of course context means nothing – there are five million registered Christian and Muslim Palestinian refugees from Israeli ethnic cleansing campaigns who have had their lands, homes and communities stolen from them by the Jewish colonists and there are over 500,000 Jews from everywhere except Palestine living in state-built, Jews-only illegal settlements built on land stolen from Palestinians. More than 70% of the two million Christians and Muslims living in Gaza are registered refugees from Israeli racist terror and ethnic cleansing campaigns and some of them can see the homes stolen from them by the Jewish colonists right across that apartheid wall.

            But you see no difference between the sale of land to the thieving, racist colonists and the sale of land to a native. You must be in the zionist brain trust.

          • Steamdude

            I think it’s you that fails to see the difference.

          • Wesley Stubbs Sandel

            No, I can smell Israeli racism and colonialism ten thousand miles away.

  • eichler1

    This article, among its many other flaws and falsehoods, conveniently omits the fact that five (5) Arab states were on the march to obliterate Israel. Israel handed them their arses and got to within 10 km of Damascus. However ,they pulled back to the post-Six-Day-War borders. If the author posted an honest map of history, after 1967 you’d have NO green, plus the entire Sinai peninsula in Israeli hands. Have you forgotten? Israel gave Egypt the Sinai for peace, and for once it worked, though now the Sinai is flooded with ISIS operatives, and we all know had it remained in Israeli hands, there would be zero ISIS operatives there. So if you compare post-1976 with the map on the right, there have been lots of concessions to “Palestinians” (a fake and meaningless moniker conjured up in the mid-20th century because Arab nations prefer to use the “Palestinians” as political pawns for whipping up hatred of Israel, rather than doing the right thing and taking those Arabs into their own country.

    If you live anywhere in the United States, the land on which you live was “stolen” from someone. For example, in the West, the are from the northeast corner of Colorado, west to the Pacific and south to the present border with Mexico, after it was in native hands, was under the rule of Spain then of Mexico. The U.S. won that land at war. Likewise, Israel won Judea and Samaria (given the fake name “West Bank”) at war. So if you’re really into giving land “back” to former owners, why don’t you advocate that the Southwest US be given “back” to Mexico. If you don’t agree with that position, then you are a hypocrite if you think Israel should give Judea and Samaria “back” to Jordan (there never was a nation of “Palestine” – that is a mere fraud).

  • Wesley Stubbs Sandel

    Boycott ALL Israeli goods, services and institutions until Israeli racism, terrorism, colonialism, mass murder, ethnic cleansing and apartheid are ended and the human rights of the Palestinian refugees are honored.