US President Donald Trump recently declared that the USA recognises Jerusalem as the capital of Israel. In doing so he not only surprised the international community, he took a quintessentially Israeli position and jettisoned seven decades of America’s stand on the Palestine-Israel conflict. While doing so he ignored international laws, consensus and every step taken in the direction of peace in the world’s most protracted, complicated and sensitive conflict. More importantly, he has undermined America’s role as a mediator in the Middle East conflict.
Trump’s claim that he is just recognising reality makes a mockery of international law, institutions and world peace. It seems that the rogue president doesn’t give a damn about world peace; he is willing to set everything on fire. In doing so he has humiliated the Palestinians and enforced yet another anti-Palestine diktat. This is dangerous as it is making the Israeli position look normal, overlooking the history, facts, and curbing space for the Palestinians. It brought more harm to the American position as the American President looks obsequious in his approach. President Trump’s announcement is detrimental for the peace process as it predetermines the final status of Jerusalem, the core of the Palestinian-Israeli conflict.
Every leader around the world rejected President Trump’s declaration. Federica Mogherini, the European Union’s High Representative for Foreign Affairs and Security Policy, warned that the declaration made by Mr. Trump would damage peace efforts and that the declaration had a potentially worrying impact. She is right as the entire region may well explode.
King Abdullah II of Jordan, custodian of the Christian and Muslim holy sites in Jerusalem, voiced his discontent and was alarmed that the decision would have “dangerous repercussions on the stability and security of the region”, according to a statement released by the Royal Palace. The Jordanian King travelled to Turkey to discuss the matter with Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan who has said that the US crossed a red line. King Abdullah also called Qatar’s Emir, Sheikh Tamim bin Hamad Al-Thani, hinting at a new, united front.
Erdogan convened an emergency summit of the Organisation of Islamic Cooperation (OIC) – the pan-Islamic body of more than 1.6 billion Muslims with 57 member states – in a reaction to Trump’s declaration. At the OIC summit the final statement declared “East Jerusalem as the capital of the State of Palestine”.
Erdogan denounced Israel as an “occupying and terror state” and earlier, on 10 December 2017, called Jerusalem “the apple of our eye. We will not abandon it to the child-murderer state. We will not abandon it to an occupier state”.
Dismal failure of mediation
US mediation has been unreliable and suspicious right from the beginning as it never poised itself as an impartial mediator. The Oslo Peace Process only entrenched the occupation and ghettoisation of the Palestinians into the West Bank Areas A, B and C. Israel was the architect of the Bantustans created for Palestinians within their own territories and behind the smoke screen prepared the stage for Israeli settler colonisation in the Palestinian territories. With every passing day Israel encroached on every inch of remaining Palestinian land and its illegal settlements kept on mushrooming. Mediations were ongoing but Palestinians kept on losing.
The US became the mediator for the Palestine-Israel conflict in the 1990s, hence it cannot run away from the responsibility of subsequent events taking place in Palestine and Israel and the peace process as a whole. It bears the responsibility of the failure of any settlement of the issue and the expansion of the Israeli occupation. The US, however, has always remained biased towards Israel and helped it to survive with immunity in the international system on countless occasions, which otherwise would not have been possible for a rogue state like Israel to do. President of the Palestinian Authority, Mahmoud Abbas, who puts his support behind Trump and Washington, was deeply humiliated. Furious Mr. Abbas now says that the US will now have no role left as a mediator as it has disqualified itself. Mr. Abbas calls for a non-violent protest; he also fears that protests could turn into an intifada, which he is clearly against as he sees his rival Hamas making the most out of it. Hamas was born after the first intifada and ever since is the most popular force replacing the PLO’s popularity amongst Palestinians.
The Balfour declaration of 1917 changed the destiny of the Palestinians on their own land. Exactly after 100 years, in 2017, this time the US stabbed the Palestinians in the back by declaring Jerusalem as the capital of Israel.
A critical phase in history has arrived again, wherein the fate of the people will be determined and Arab leaders will be guilty again for betraying their own people, pleasing the enemy so that they continue their privileges and safeguarding their thrones for the time being.
Where is Arab unity, Palestinian strategy, and the international community on this insane, anarchic US stand which lays naked in front of Israeli crimes? Israel only accepts zero Arabs and plans to give zero inches of land to Arabs. It seems all have sold out, or are fighting without strategy. It is now again in the hands of Palestinians to take their fate in their own hands and guide the future course of their destiny which for sure their leaders cannot.
The two-state solution is being murdered again by accepting Jerusalem as the capital of Israel. There are talks surfacing that suburbs of East Jerusalem are being proposed as a future capital of a crippled Palestinian state, for example Abu Deis village.The international community can only support Palestinians morally; people with conscience will always stand with the oppressed Palestinians. It is primarily for Arabs to lead, fight and win this battle.
The Palestinian issue has become a true shame for the Arab world, who own and control strategic lands, gateways and resources of this earth yet are not able to secure their own rights. People across the globe who cherish freedom and want to see a free Palestine and a peaceful Middle East cannot fathom the logic of why Arabs still suffer from such a corrupt leadership and lead such an undignified life when they are provided with all fortunes one could imagine on the earth.
This European colonial project – a racist adventure in the true sense – has always been supported by US imperialistic ambitions who have given power to Zionists, the proven war criminals. Yet the conscience of people across the world do not agree on their legitimacy claims, as we can see large crowds protesting against this latest decision too. Legitimate are the sons and daughters of Palestine, who have to help their destiny on their own.
By all definitions of international law Jerusalem is for the people of Palestine. Historically what is happening there is called colonialism and colonialism is destined to be opposed, fought against and destroyed. Anarchy must be brought under control by bringing order and peace. May the Palestinian state be free with Jerusalem as its natural, eternal and plural capital. Jerusalem is for those who can value and respect pluralism. Not for those who value anarchy.
The views expressed in this article belong to the author and do not necessarily reflect the editorial policy of Middle East Monitor.