Middle East enters into new era with US Embassy in Jerusalem

US Embassy
Image : Reuters

The high profile inauguration of US embassy in Jerusalem was performed while the blood of Palestinians was being shed,as Israeli forces killed 57 Palestinians and injured more than 2,700 during mass protests along the Gaza border.

The provocative move by US President Donald Trump has ended the scope for a peaceful resolution to the decades long Israeli Palestinian conflict.Both US President and Israeli PM Benjamin Netanyahu claimed that the recognition of Jerusalem as Israel’s capital will help bring peace to the Middle East

It was Trump’s announcement in December that inspired the Palestinians to start protests on March 30 under the banner The ‘Great March of Return’ demanding the right of return for Palestinian refugees and their descendants to their own homes, villages and lands in present-day Israel.

Israeli Border Police initially used rubber bullets than live rounds at the protesters during the Great March of Return,the peaceful show of resistance by Gazans that culminated on Tuesday (15th May)on the 70th anniversary of what Palestinians call the Nakba Day and Israelis mark as the birth of the state of Israel.

Nakba, meaning “catastrophe”, refers to the moment in 1948 when more than 700,000 Palestinians were driven out of their towns and villages that led to the creation of the Israeli state.

The move has infuriated the Palestinian President Mahmoud Abbas, who has pledged to continue the peaceful struggle against Israeli oppression and invasion of internationally recognized territories of the State of Palestine, and said that the United States can no longer be a mediator in the negotiations between the two parties.

Tensions are high in Jerusalem, Gaza, and the West Bank as US President Donald Trump’s daughter Ivanka and her husband, Jared Kushner,the US envoy to the Middle East, attended the ceremony of the US embassy in Jerusalem.Jared Kushner said, “We will look back on this day” and remember that “the journey to peace started with a strong America recognizing the truth.”

The fulfillment of commitment by Trump of relocating the US embassy to Jerusalem would inflame the sentiments in the Middle East as it provides Israel to term it as a legitimate right to establish Jerusalem as its own capital.

The location of the US mission is sensitive as it cuts across the 1949 Armistice Line that separated West Jerusalem from No Man’s Land, which Israel captured in the 1967 Six Day War.

All the countries have placed their embassies in Tel Aviv because of the United Nations decision to treat Jerusalem as a “corpus separatum,” a separate area that should be governed by the international community.

Hungary, the Czech Republic and Romania, in coordination with Israel, On May 12,2018 has blocked a joint EU statement criticizing the relocation of the U.S. embassy to Jerusalem.

Trump had also threatened to cut off financial aid to countries opposing his Israel Foreign policy and that voted in favor of of a United Nations General Assembly resolution on December 2017 calling for the United States to drop its recent recognition of Jerusalem as Israel’s capital. A total of 128 countries backed the resolution.

Some countries such as Ivory Coast, Zaire (now the Democratic Republic of the Congo) and Kenya; 11 were from Latin American countries – Bolivia, Chile, Colombia, Costa Rica, Dominican Republic, Ecuador, El Salvador, Panama, Uruguay and Venezuela have expressed their interest to relocate their embassies to Jerusalem.

Jerusalem has two parts ,comprising East and West . Israel claims East Jerusalem as old city sacred to Muslims, Christians and Jews while Israel regards entire Jerusalem as its indivisible capital.

The status of Jerusalem remains one of the core issues in the Israeli–Palestinian conflict. The US president has insisted  that he has “taken Jerusalem off the table,” implying that Jerusalem is no longer serves a disputed issue between Israel and Palestine and both the parties can move forward to other issues, such as security, borders, and refugees.

Thus completely changing the 70 years of official US policy would spark violent protests across the Middle East.

Trump has emboldened Benjamin Netanyahu to accelerate his policies of annexation of the occupied Palestinian territories and to erase political and demographic presence of Palestinians.

“This is history,” Netanyahu declared. “President Trump made history. We are all excited. It reminds me of my childhood. I grew up here. I used to walk here in the fields.This is where the border was and it was already dangerous. This is the day that will be engraved in our collective national memory for generations to come.”

The Temple Mount is in our hands,” he said, repeating this quote from Israel’s victory in the 1967 Six-Day War.

For the permanent peace, Trump would have recognized   West Jerusalem as Israel’s capital and installing  its embassy in  an independent Palestine in East Jerusalem.

The Middle East has entered into a new era  with US declaring Jerusalem as capital of Israel .Trump decision has complicated the entire situation as US has lost its credibility of being a honest and neutral mediator to the conflict  and  Arab League conference was  called the “Jerusalem summit,” and issued a strong statement condemning Washington’s planned embassy move.

Blog: By Arti Bali,

(Senior Journalist)



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