Trump Recognizes Jerusalem As Israel’s Capital; Middle East Prepares For Violence
Dec 6, 2017
As expected, President Trump on Wednesday recognized Jerusalem as Israel’s capital and announced plans to relocate the U.S. embassy there, a decision that is certain to inflame tensions in the region and throw a wrench in potential peace negotiations, paradoxically uniting the fractured middle east world against Israel and the U.S.
“I have determined that it is time to officially recognize Jerusalem as the capital of Israel,” Trump said shortly after 1pm in the White House.
Trump said the announcement “marks the beginning of a new approach to conflict between Israel and Palestinians.”
As discussed earlier, Trump’s move reverses decades of American policy in the Middle East and alienates regional allies, even as the president has made brokering an elusive Middle East peace deal a key goal.
“This is a long overdue step to advance the peace process and work towards a lasting agreement”, Mr Trump said in his remarks. He added that he was directing the US State Department to develop a plan to move its Israel embassy from its current location in Tel Aviv to Jerusalem.
Trump framed the decision as a way to put his own stamp on one of history’s oldest conflicts.
“The record is in: after more than two decades of waivers, we are no closer to a lasting peace agreement between Israel and the Palestinians,” the president said. “It would be folly to assume that repeating the exact same formula would now produce a different or better result.”
The move showed Trump’s inclination to prioritize domestic politics over the desires of U.S. allies in the Middle East and Europe who warned the announcement could spark violence in a region that is already a powder keg.
“While previous presidents have made this a major campaign promise, they failed to deliver,” the president said. “Today, I am delivering.”
It will hardly play out that way.
As Bloomberg notes, leaders across the Middle East, including from Jordan, Egypt, Turkey, Saudi Arabia and the Arab League have also spoken out against the plan, and Iran’s Supreme Leader Ayatollah Ali Khamenei called Trump’s plan a sign of U.S. “failure and impotence.”
Palestinian Authority President Mahmoud Abbas and Jordan’s King Abdullah II, warned him the announcement would have “dangerous” repercussions for regional stability. Separately, the Palestinian delegate to the United Kingdom said on Wednesday that President Trump’s move to recognize Jerusalem as the capital of Israel signals “a declaration of war” in the region. “He is declaring war in the Middle East, he is declaring war against 1.5 billion Muslims, hundreds of millions of Christians that are not going to accept the holy shrines to be totally under the hegemony of Israel,” Manuel Hassassian told BBC 4 Radio’s “Today.”
The Turkish government’s spokesman on Wednesday said that the United States’ decision to recognize Jerusalem as the capital of Israel will plunge the region and the world into “a fire with no end in sight”.
Turkish Foreign Minister Mevlut Cavusoglu said the “whole world is against” Trump’s move. He says that moving the embassy to Jerusalem would be a “grave mistake” and would “not bring any stability, peace but rather chaos and instability.”
Iran’s Supreme Leader Ayatollah Ali Khamenei has also blasted Washington’s decision to relocate the US embassy to Jerusalem as a display of incompetence. “That they claim they want to announce Quds as the capital of occupied Palestine is because of their incompetence and failure,” Khamenei said, using the Arabic name for Jerusalem.
The Syrian government also weighed in on the planned move. “[The move] is the culmination of the crime of usurping Palestine and displacing the Palestinian people,” a Foreign Ministry official told state news agency SANA.
Palestinian Christians in Bethlehem were spotted burning photographs of Donald Trump and holding signs reading “Move the embassy to your country, not ours,” and “Jerusalem, Palestine’s heart, is not up to negotiations.”
The declaration of Jerusalem as Israel’s capital carries deep symbolic significance and could have dangerous consequences. The competing claims to east Jerusalem, the section of the city captured by Israel in 1967, have frequently boiled over into deadly violence over the years. East Jerusalem is home to the city’s most sensitive Jewish, Muslim and Christian holy sites, as well as its 330,000 Palestinian residents.
The United States has never endorsed the Jewish state’s claim of sovereignty over any part of Jerusalem and has insisted its status be resolved through Israeli-Palestinian negotiation.
The mere consideration of Trump changing the status quo sparked a renewed U.S. security warning on Tuesday. America’s consulate in Jerusalem ordered U.S. personnel and their families to avoid visiting Jerusalem’s Old City or the West Bank, and urged American citizens in general to avoid places with increased police or military presence.
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U.S. President Trump announced today a change in the official U.S. view of the city of Jerusalem in Palestine:
President Trump on Wednesday formally recognized Jerusalem as the capital of Israel, reversing nearly seven decades of American foreign policy and setting in motion a plan to move the United States Embassy from Tel Aviv to the fiercely contested Holy City.“It is time to officially recognize Jerusalem as the capital of Israel,” said Mr. Trump.
This is not Trump’s lone doing. The position has long had support of both parties in Congress:
The Senate’s top Democrat, Minority Leader Chuck Schumer, told THE WEEKLY STANDARD Tuesday that he had advised Trump to declare Jerusalem as Israel’s “undivided” capital.
A 1995 law declares that Jerusalem should “remain an undivided city” and “be recognized as the capital of the State of Israel,” but allows the president to issue waivers every six months delaying the move of the embassy for national security reasons. The Senate reaffirmed that law in June.
Maryland senator Ben Cardin, the top Democrat on the Foreign Relations Committee, reiterated his support for recognizing Jerusalem when asked Monday about the president’s potential announcement.
“I believe that Jerusalem is the capital of Israel, so to me, that’s not news,” he told TWS.
In 2008 then presidential candidate Obama pandered to the Zionist Lobby in the U.S.:
Jerusalem will remain the capital of Israel and it must remain undivided.
Obama though left it at that speech and never made it official policy. Officially declaring Jerusalem an “undivided city” and capital of the Zionist entity means that there is no room for a Palestinian capital in east-Jerusalem. It buries the (fairy-)tale of a sovereign Palestinian state.
But that idea had been dead all along. The only reasons for U.S. presidents to circumvent the 22 year old law by issuing waivers was to pretend that the U.S. would be a neutral broker towards some peace between the (east-)European colonists and Palestinians. That was from start to end a deception. Congress and U.S. presidents are under control of the Zionist Lobby which can marshal enormous amounts of money to make or defeat candidates for legislative or executive offices. The Zionist billionaire Sheldon Adelson, who also sponsors the fascist Israel Prime Minister Netanyahoo, donated more then $100 million to the Trump campaign and tens of millions to Congress races. Today was time for Trump to settle some of that debt.
With the increasing buildup of Zionist settlements in the Palestinian West Bank areas under Netanyahoo, the two state solution had long been killed. The Palestinian dictator Mahmoud Abbas, who let this happen without resistance, is just a kapo used by the Israelis to keep the Palestinians down. The Palestinians in Gaza which defied the Zionist occupation were bombed whenever an Israeli Premier needed some diversion from domestic political trouble.
The U.S. is alone in its move. The global consensus and international legal status is that the issue of Jerusalem must be decided through negotiations. A city divided into of two capitals is the most expected outcome. The EU nations and other countries rejected the move. The Pope and other dignitaries spoke out against it.
The Trump declaration only reveals the true long-standing U.S. position but it still matters. It provides without doubt that the U.S. is the enemy of the people on the Middle East. It exposes those Arab rulers that seek to ally with the U.S. It elevates all those who have been fighting the U.S. all along.
The tyrant of Saudi Arabia and his clown prince son have agreed to Trumps move. Instead of declaring retaliatory measures they only issued pro-forma condemnations. Other Arab rulers which depend on Saudi money, like the Jordan King “Playstation” Abdullah, will likewise stay mostly quiet.
There will likely be only little violence in the immediate aftermath of the Trump declaration. The long term effects though will be significant. The Arab public, which gets little coverage in the “western” press, is seething. Professor Assad AbuKhalil reports:
Fury on Arab social media over Jerusalem
There is such a fury on Arab social media over Jerusalem but I am confident that none of the Western correspondents in Beirut or Cairo will notice in their dispatches.
This in Saudi Arabia
Hashtag “Jerusalem is the capital of Palestine” #1 trending right now in #KSA #Saudi #القدس_عاصمه_فلسطين_الابديه
PS It also is in Iraq and Algeria.
PS and in Syria.
This is today’s front page of the Beirut Daily Star, a newspaper which is on most issues solidly in the “western” camp.
Amal Saad @amalsaad_lb – 6:29 PM – 6 Dec 2017Trump has no idea how his declaration will backfire. In violating Int’l law & legitimizing Israel’s apartheid rule in Jerusalem, Int’l law will no longer serve as a framework for securing Palestinian rights- “from river to sea Palestine will be free” will be normalized discourse
Those parties that have resisted and continue to resist U.S. hegemony and the Zionists, will win in the public opinion of the Middle East. Those who cooperate with and enable the U.S. and its Zionist pendant will lose.
On the winning side are Iran, Syria, Hizbullah and Hamas (one can now also include the Houthi?) They have all long resisted imperialism despite enormous pressure and furious wars waged against them. Trump’s move fits neatly into their narrative that the U.S. always was and continues to be an enemy of people of the Middle East. The public support for them will grow.
The other “winners” are the terrorists group which pretend to be against the U.S. and the Zionists but which have done little to fight them. These are al-Qaeda, ISIS and other Wahhabi/Takfiri groups. They use the issue as a recruiting tool but their paymasters keep them away from fighting the declared enemies.
Trump’s move will increase the internal instability of those countries U.S. imperialism in the Middle East depends on. The Gulf States are the most endangered. Their pliant leaders will come under increased pressure from their own people. At some point that pressure will violently relief itself. I find it likely that the U.S. will be the first to be hurt by it.