A Palestinian protester hurls stones towards Israeli troops during clashes at a protest against Trump’s decision to recognize Jerusalem as the capital of Israel, near the West Bank city of Ramallah. (photo: Mohamad Torokman / Reuters)
Meeting to be held as Palestinian protests and global criticism grow over Trump recognising Jerusalem as Israeli capital.
By Peter Beaumont | The Guardian | Dec 7, 2017
Recognizing Jerusalem as Israel’s capital puts the US out of step with the rest of the world, and legitimizes Israeli settlement-building in the east — considered illegal under international law.
The UN security council is expected to meet on Friday to discuss Donald Trump’s recognition of Jerusalem as Israel’s capital, a decision against which condemnation continues to mount across the Middle East and internationally.
Eight countries on the 15-member council requested the meeting, including the UK, Italy and France, amid claims from Palestine and Turkey that Trump’s recognition is in breach of both international law and UN resolutions.
The EU foreign policy chief, Federica Mogherini, said the bloc had united position that Jerusalem must be the capital of both Israel and a future Palestinian state. The Russian foreign ministry said US recognition risked “dangerous and uncontrollable consequences.”
The Israeli flag fluttering in front of the Dome of the Rock mosque and the city of Jerusalem. (photo: Haaretz)
And why the possibility that Trump might do just that, seven decades after Israel’s establishment, is such a source of apprehension worldwide.
By David Green | Haaretz | Dec 7, 2017
As long as the sides cannot decide on a mutually agreeable plan for sharing sovereignty in Jerusalem, . . . [and as long as] the world community [has not] concluded that it must impose a solution on the sides — it would be highly improbable for any individual state to unilaterally give official recognition to Jerusalem as its capital.
Any individual state, that is, not led by Donald J. Trump.
Jerusalem is holy to three religions. Jerusalem is a powder keg, and the smallest wrong move there could set off a religious war. The Arab-Israeli conflict will never be solved until the Jerusalem question is resolved.
Yes, these are all truisms, and you’ve heard them a thousand times or more. But there’s a reason why the root of the word “truism” is “true.” For Jews, Jerusalem is where their Temple — the home of their one god — stood, in its various incarnations. Each time they were exiled from their cultic and political capital in ancient times, they dreamed of returning, and the term “Zion,” the name of one of the city’s hills, became a metonymy not only for the city itself, but for the Land of Israel in general, and the basis of the name of the modern movement calling for establishment of a Jewish state there.
So, why don’t the nearly 160 countries that have diplomatic relations with the State of Israel recognize Jerusalem as its capital, and why is the possibility that the United States may do just that now, nearly seven decades after Israel’s establishment, a source of such apprehension worldwide?
An Israeli flag hangs outside a settler’s home in the East Jerusalem neighborhood of Silwan. (photo: Emil Salman)
Arbitrarily altering a city’s boundaries based on demographic forecasts is hardly the way to manage a municipality. Instead, all of East Jerusalem should be rehabilitated.
By Moshe Arens | Haaretz | Dec 3, 2017
Instead of fiddling with Jerusalem’s boundaries, the ministers and mayor should set in motion a plan to rehabilitate all East Jerusalem’s neighborhoods. That a Palestinian refugee camp, Shoafat, has existed for 50 years within Israel’s sovereign borders is inexcusable.
Ministers Zeev Elkin and Naftali Bennett are sponsoring legislation that would let the government change Jerusalem’s borders, making the Kafr Aqab and Shoafat refugee-camp neighborhoods that have been within the city’s boundaries for 50 years separate municipal entities.
Both ministers have impeccable records regarding their opposition to the division of Jerusalem, but still the legislation they’re trying to move through the Knesset at lightning speed constitutes a shrinking of the municipal boundaries of Israel’s capital by separating off certain neighborhoods. Like it or not, this is a division of Jerusalem. No wonder Mayor Nir Barkat objects.
Palestinians protest against US plans to move its embassy to Jerusalem, Rafah, Dec 6, 2017. (photo: Ibraheem Abu Mustafa / Reuters)
The president’s foolish move in recognizing the city as the capital of Israel will have negative consequences impossible to predict.
By Rashid Khalidi | The Guardian | Dec 6, 2017
It is now hard to see how a sustainable Palestinian-Israeli agreement is possible. True to Trump form, this is an entirely self-inflicted wound that will long echo in the annals of diplomacy. It will further diminish the already reduced standing of the US, complicating relations with allies, with Muslims and Arabs — and with people of common sense the world over.
Every time it seems Donald Trump cannot outdo himself, he does it again. Now he has announced that his administration will recognize Jerusalem as Israel’s capital, reversing nearly seven decades of American policy. This step will have multiple negative ramifications, many impossible to predict.
Jerusalem is the most important of the so-called final status issues that have been repeatedly deferred during the Israel-Palestine negotiations because of their extreme sensitivity. Trump has plowed into this imbroglio like a bull in a china shop, zeroing in on the most complex and emotional issue of all those connected to Palestine.
“The place that represents the nuclear core of this most radioactive conflict, the site Muslims call the Haram al-Sharif and Jews call the Temple Mount.” (photo: Jack Guez / AFP / Getty Images)
The US president’s recognition of Jerusalem as the capital of Israel turns a naked flame on the single most combustible issue in the conflict.
By Jonathan Freedland | The Guardian | Dec 6, 2017
Here comes Trump, oblivious to precedent and indeed history — even in a place where history is a matter of life and death — stomping through this delicate thicket, trampling over every sensitivity. The risk is obvious, with every Arab government — including those loyal to Washington — now issuing sharp warnings on the perils of this move, almost all of them using the same word: “dangerous.”
Not content with taking the US to the brink of nuclear conflict with North Korea, Donald Trump is now set to apply his strategy of international vandalism to perhaps the most sensitive geopolitical hotspot in the world. With a speech scheduled for later today that’s expected to recognize Jerusalem as the capital of Israel and reaffirm a pledge to move the US embassy to the city, he is walking into a bone-dry forest with a naked flame.
For the status of Jerusalem is the most intractable issue in what is often described as the world’s most intractable conflict. It is the issue that has foiled multiple efforts at peacemaking over several decades. Both Israelis and Palestinians insist that Jerusalem must be the capital of their states, present and future, and that that status is non-negotiable.
President Trump making his announcement at the White House with Vice President Mike Pence, Dec 6, 2017. (photo: Mandel Ngan / AFP / Getty Images)
Defying near-universal opposition, Trump insists the move will facilitate peace.
By Julian Borger and Peter Beaumont | The Guardian | Dec 6, 2017
Q&A: Why would moving the US embassy to Jerusalem be so contentious?
Of all the issues at the heart of the enduring conflict between Israel and the Palestinians, none is as sensitive as the status of Jerusalem. The holy city has been at the centre of peace-making efforts for decades.
Seventy years ago, when the UN voted to partition Palestine into Jewish and Arab states, Jerusalem was defined as a separate entity under international supervision. In the war of 1948 it was divided, like Berlin in the cold war, into western and eastern sectors under Israeli and Jordanian control respectively. Nineteen years later, in June 1967, Israel captured the eastern side, expanded the city’s boundaries and annexed it — an act that was never recognized internationally.
Israel routinely describes the city, with its Jewish, Muslim and Christian holy places, as its “united and eternal” capital. For their part, the Palestinians say East Jerusalem must be the capital of a future independent Palestinian state. The unequivocal international view, accepted by all previous US administrations, is that the city’s status must be addressed in peace negotiations.
Any move to recognize Jerusalem as Israel’s capital would put the US out of step with the rest of the world, and legitimize Israeli settlement-building in the east considered illegal under international law.
Donald Trump has defied overwhelming global opposition by declaring US recognition of Jerusalem as the capital of Israel, but insisted that the highly controversial move would not derail his own administration’s bid to resolve the Israeli-Palestinian conflict.
In remarks delivered in the diplomatic reception room of the White House, Trump called his decision “a long overdue” step to advance the peace process.
“I have determined that it is time to officially recognize Jerusalem as the capital of Israel,” Trump said. “While previous presidents have made this a major campaign promise, they failed to deliver. Today, I am delivering.”
An aerial view of Jerusalem’s Old City. (photo: Ariel Schalit / AP)
A history of the Jerusalem conflict.
By Sewell Chan and Irit Pazner Garshowitz | New York Times | Dec 5, 2017
“Paradoxically, [early Zionist immigrants] recoiled from Jerusalem, particularly the Old City — first because Jerusalem was regarded as a symbol of the diaspora, and second because the holy sites to Christianity and Islam were seen as complications that would not enable the creation of a Jewish state with Jerusalem as its capital.”
— Amnon Ramon, senior researcher at the Jerusalem Institute for Policy Research
In December 1917 — 100 years ago this month — the British general Edmund Allenby seized control of Jerusalem from its Ottoman Turkish defenders. Dismounting his horse, he entered the Old City on foot, through Jaffa Gate, out of respect for its holy status.
In the century since, Jerusalem has been fought over in varying ways, not only by Jews, Christians and Muslims but also by external powers and, of course, modern-day Israelis and Palestinians.
It is perhaps fitting that President Trump appears to have chosen this week to announce that the United States will recognize Jerusalem as Israel’s capital, despite concerns from leaders of Arab countries, Turkey and even close allies like France.
Conflicts over Jerusalem go back thousands of years — including biblical times, the Roman Empire and the Crusades — but the current one is a distinctly 20th-century story, with roots in colonialism, nationalism and anti-Semitism.