Since 1967, the UN regularly adopted resolutions concerning the status of Jerusalem, most of them dealing with withdrawing military forces, condemnation of land confiscation and settlement expansion, as well as requesting that Israel refrains from holding military activities in the city. A recurring warning was that no action should be taken to change the status of Jerusalem.
US President Donald Trump exposed the fallacy behind international recommendations yesterday with his unilateral declaration of recognising Jerusalem as Israel's capital city. Away from the outpouring of indignation from Palestinians who have resisted the Zionist colonial project, the opposition to Trump's declaration has been mostly diluted by statements that simply acknowledge the action taken as reprehensible, instead of focusing upon responsibility, accountability and ramifications – all of which should lead directly to the UN.
The hype generated by Trump on previous occasions, which illustrated his administration's support for Israel, is becoming a convenient tool for Israel, the PA and the UN, due to such tactics generating a fragmented response and one that strengthens reliance upon symbolism. Trump's statement goes against UN resolutions. However, it is a known fact that UN resolutions are a façade for the allowance of international law violations. Palestine is no exception – on the contrary, it is an epitome of how international politics have shaped the disappearance of people and territory, leaving only slivers of land as a specific focus detracting from the entire colonial structure and the institutions supporting it.
Without detracting attention from the latest development, discussing Jerusalem in isolation puts the rest of Palestine at risk at a political level. Trump has stepped away from the requirements of the Quartet, namely the two-state compromise which, months ago, was mulled over publicly by the US president in sentences which attracted more derision than scrutiny. What will it take now to declare an official departure from the negotiations which have changed Palestine in a more dangerous manner than Trump?
The UN's useless, specific focus on Jerusalem can, however, serve as an example of how it has allowed colonialism and its allies to change Palestine permanently. The Times of Israel is already quoting Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu stating: "We are holding contacts with other countries who will also recognise Jerusalem as Israel's capital." The prediction for such moves, Netanyahu stated, is based upon the future relocation of the US embassy. Again, this rhetoric is nothing new – a few months ago Netanyahu made similar statements regarding Jerusalem and the eventual relocation of embassies. If other countries follow suit, even if these are a minority, how does the UN plan to safeguard Jerusalem's status through resolutions?
This also begets another question – how will the UN frame the two-state compromise, which UN Secretary-General Antonio Guterres immediately reiterated as the only solution, now that a clear departure from the obsolete formula has been made? Trump's actions have defined previous warnings on the subject which the UN preferred not to heed in its quest to deprive Palestinians of a political solution – something it has done since its inception. With such an obscene human rights violations record, expecting the UN to protect Palestine and Palestinians, as has been requested on several occasions, should not even be considered, let alone devise an approach. For decades, the UN has stolen the rights of Palestinians to claim their land. It also bequeathed Israel with a farcical legitimacy through one main omission – that of recognising a colonial entity as a state.
Sadly, the Palestinian Authority, as a derivative of such corruption, never prioritised Palestine and Palestinians. Jerusalem, however, will provide Mahmoud Abbas with an opportunity to pontificate meaninglessly, embellishing this degeneration with adjectives depicting illusion instead of defining true ownership. Once the furore over this episode abates and it is consigned to the growing timeline of violations, Abbas will undoubtedly pursue the remnants of the internationally-accepted fabrication of negotiations and compromise to earn plaudits from the UN, until there is nothing left to compromise over.
The views expressed in this article belong to the author and do not necessarily reflect the editorial policy of Middle East Monitor.