Labaran Yusuf – firstname.lastname@example.org
In yet another show of disregard for international laws and the international community, the investigation-clouded Trump administration on December 6, formally declared Jerusalem as the capital of the settler-state of Israel and also announced plans for moving the United States embassy from Tel Aviv to Jerusalem.
By declaring Jerusalem as being the capital of Israel, a state established on occupation; the 45th president reversed decades of US policy to a city with historical, religious and political significance – that has always been a prominent symbol for its inhabitants, the Palestinians and their cause; not to talk of the Arab and Muslim world at large.
Jerusalem, one of the oldest and most contested cities in the world, is an important holy city to the three Abrahamic religions (Islam, Christianity, and Judaism). Throughout history, Jerusalem was conquered and ruled by different groups, including the Romans, Persians, Arabs, Fatimids, Seljuk Turks, Crusaders, Egyptians, and Mamluks. During its long history, Jerusalem has been destroyed at least twice, besieged 23 times, attacked 52 times, and captured and recaptured 44 times.
In 1947, the United Nations partitioned historical Palestine, then under British control, into two states: one for Jews, mainly from Europe that survived the Holocaust, and one for Palestinians. The Jewish state was given 55 percent of the land, while the Palestinian state was given the remaining 45 percent. Jerusalem was granted special status and was meant to be placed under international sovereignty and control based on the city’s religious importance.
A year later, in 1948, after sustained attacks by Zionist-Jewish terror groups on British and Arab targets (notably the King David hotel bombing), the British withdrew from Palestine; leading Israel to declare independence. During the ensuing war (first Arab-Israeli war), Israel captured and later annexed West Jerusalem, putting it in control of 78 percent of Palestine, in what is called the Nakba by Palestinians – the beginning of their displacement and transformation into strangers and refugees.
Later in 1967, Israel captured East Jerusalem, along with the West Bank and Gaza Strip after a brief war (second Arab-Israeli war) that lead to the second Nakba which gave Israel additional 20 percent of Palestinian territory. This resulted in the illegal occupation and eventual annexation of East Jerusalem, including the Old city and holy places: the Muslim al-Aqsa Mosque, and the Dome of the Rock, the seventh-century Noble Sanctuary (Haram al-Sharif); the Christian Church of Holy Sepulchre; along with the Jewish Western Wall (the Wailing Wall) believed to be built by Herod.
The 1980 ‘Jerusalem Law’ passed by the Israeli Parliament (Knesset), which states that “Jerusalem, complete and united, is the capital of Israel”, was declared “null and void” by UN Security Council Resolution 478. The international community, including the US, not until Trump recklessly declared Jerusalem as the capital of Israel, officially regards Jerusalem as occupied territory.
Fast forward 2017. A century (100 years) after the Balfour declaration – some sort of gifting of Palestine to Zionists to be a Jewish homeland by English statesman Arthur Balfour; 70 years after the Nakba; 50 years after the Israeli occupation of Jerusalem, the West Bank and Gaza; 30 years since the beginning of the first Intifada (uprising); and 10 years of an inhumane siege on Gaza – president Trump with his “reckless” action has added salt to a non-healing injury, as Aaron David Miller, vice president at the Woodrow Wilson Center and a former Middle East adviser to the Clinton and Bush administrations described it “Jerusalem has a tendency to explode when you fool around with the status quo”.
Though, Trump’s declaration will thrill key financial donors of his election campaign like the Las Vegas casino magnate Sheldon Adelson, and boost his popularity among his core, right-wing evangelical base. However, it is an act that will legitimize occupation and apartheid – and also will impose facts on the ground by someone that disrespects not only history, but the international community as a whole.
Also, insensitive hypocritical Arab regimes, whose continued support for the supposed-to-be honest broker trying to help achieve the “deal of the century” would find themselves stuck between someone that calls them ‘moderate allies’ and an angry population that sees enemy-number-one in the person their governments flirts around with.
The curtains are now down, so also is the peace process charade. The bias broker that for decades show to act as an honest broker is long gone even for someone living in a bubble. As the calls for another Intifada keeps growing by the day, the resilient Palestinian will continue to resist by all legitimate means, and won’t be deceived anymore by exploitive Arab regimes that use his cause for their own benefit. Palestinians are done with the casual meetings and empty statements issued by Arab leaders each time the sign deals at the expense of Palestine.
From all indications, Trump just flew a kamikaze mission with his Jerusalem gambit. Isoalated in the UN, the United States unilateralist policy also risk losing not only Arab allies, but also European friends – and will be seen as part and parcel of a racist, apartheid occupation that uses systematic and institutionalised violence to tear-gas schools, arrest children, demolish homes, night-raid neighborhoods, and kill and maim the elderly, women and children in broad-daylight.
As one expert puts it: it’s either you are with Jerusalem or Yerushalayim, which for now, all Palestinians, 1.6 billion Muslims, 2.2 billion Christians, 360 million Arabs and most world capitals and organizations are with Jerusalem and not with Trump and Netanyahu’s Yerushalayim.
Yusuf – Freelance writer and researcher, Jos, Plateau State