Trump's Non-Radical Decision on Jerusalem

Palestinian protesters run during clashes in the southern Gaza Strip

As the clashes and protests erupted around the world, Palestinian president Mahmoud Abbas was preparing a declaration with Hamas, the Islamist political and military movement in Gaza, that would end the Palestinians' relationship with U.S. peace negotiators and cancel a meeting with U.S. Vice-President Mike Pence, who is to visit Israel and the Palestinian city of Bethlehem this month.

"It contradicts global law and U.N. Security Council resolutions", Swedish Ambassador Olof Skoog told the council. It accused the United States of giving Israel "cover for these crimes".

Until now, states have respected a 1980 council decision declaring attempts to change the status of Jerusalem as "null and void" and calling on all states to withdraw their diplomatic missions from the city. "Achieving safety and stability requires a settlement based on a two-state solution and the establishment of an independent Palestinian state, based on the 1967 borders, with East Jerusalem as its capital", he added.

Donald Trump's decision to recognise Jerusalem as the capital of Israel, and start preparations for the USA to move its embassy from Tel Aviv to the contested city, has the potential to further inflame tensions across the Middle East. It emphasised "the inadmissibility of the acquisition of territory by war and the need to work for a just and lasting peace in the Middle East in which every State in the area can live in security".

The "uprising" of Palestinians shows that "Palestinian people are ready to redeem Jerusalem with their blood, and their families will not surrender in their confrontation with the occupation". It also ignores the significance of Jerusalem in Palestinian national identity and national aspirations, and the devastating impact on the future of a moribund peace process.

Egypt, under the leadership of Abdel-Fattah el-Sissi, has developed a close relationship with the Trump administration, but the two have diverging views on this issue.

US ally Saudi Arabia joined the chorus of concern Thursday, saying it followed Trump's decision "with deep sorrow" and warned of "dangerous consequences". "Such a unilateral decision is a violation of global legitimacy and thus, it has no impact on the legal status of the city of Jerusalem, since it is a city under occupation", he added. We understand the prudential concerns that have prevented prior administrations from taking this formal step, but it shouldn't be in dispute that Jerusalem is Israel's capital, and the forces that vociferously deny it tend to oppose the very existence of the Jewish state. United States envoy Nikki Haley struck a defiant tone in the tense meeting, saying Trump's decision was taken to advance peace between Israelis and Palestinians.

"Over many years, the United Nations has outrageously been [one] of the world's foremost centers of hostility toward Israel", Haley said. The regional powerhouse, which could help the White House push through a Middle East settlement, said it had warned against the step and "continues to express its deep regret at the US administration's decision", calling it "unjustified and irresponsible". "We will not be a party to that".

Mr Trump announced the move on Wednesday.

She said the president supports maintaining the status quo at holy sites.

Recognising Jerusalem as Israel's capital was "nothing more or less than a recognition of reality", he added.

The Palestinians and Arab and Muslim states are certainly entitled to be unhappy that Trump has dusted off the law and implemented it. He referred to several United Nations resolutions protecting Jerusalem's status.

According to the 1993 Israel-Palestinian peace accords, the final status of Jerusalem is meant to be discussed in the latter stages of peace talks.

Despite a cacophony of claims to the contrary, Trump's decision does not undermine Palestinian, Arab, or Muslim claims on the city.

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