by Graham Pierrepoint
Recent news regarding US President Donald Trump having officially recognized Jerusalem as Israel’s ‘official’ capital has claimed plenty of headlines – it’s a move which widely goes against US policy of previous decades, and clashes with peace-making movements worldwide – some press outlets even claim that Trump’s move effectively puts the US completely out of step in such matters. But for those who have not been initiated in the reasons why this move on Trump’s behalf was so ill-advised – why has there been such a fallout, and why should we be concerned for the future of relations between Israel and Palestine as a result?
Conflict between the two countries is no secret and it has been ongoing for decades – and the status of the holy city of Jerusalem has been a centerpiece in ongoing problems between them for considerable years, as well as having played a pivotal part in the search for any kind of peace in the Middle East. Problems date back to the division of Palestine almost 70 years ago – which also resulted in Jerusalem having been removed from the equation completely, internationally seen as a floating entity without due ownership or control. Israel have seen this rather differently – having chosen to capture part of it, though the rest of the world have not caught on to such an idea.
▶ Israel approval vs anger in Palestine over Jerusalem recognition
Israel, as such, have continued to state that Jerusalem is their ‘eternal capital’, while Palestine argue that the captured portion must be released to act as a capital for a Palestinian ally (one which is albeit independent). The city has therefore been treated as incredibly important in peace-keeping for some time – as a contentious and sensitive issue. Trump, this week, effectively played into Israel’s wishes – by legitimately recognizing the city as their own capital. It’s a move that many believe will impact massively upon the peace process to follow – and could lead to further developments on behalf of Israel which had previously been held back.
“I have determined that it is time to officially recognize Jerusalem as the capital of Israel. While previous presidents have made this a major campaign promise, they failed to deliver. Today, I am delivering,” the US President affirmed. “I’ve judged this course of action to be in the best interests of the United States of America and the pursuit of peace between Israel and the Palestinians.” Quite how the peace agreement will change following Trump’s assertion will remain to be seen – though shockwaves are already being felt.
▶ Trump 'playing with fire' on Jerusalem, J Street president says