The international community has overwhelmingly rejected the recognition of Jerusalem as the capital of the state of Israel and strongly condemned Trumps intention to move the US embassy from Tel Aviv to Jerusalem.
The Arab League on Saturday 6 January called for the international recognition of a Palestinian state with East Jerusalem as its capital, aiming to nullify a the US decision on the status of Jerusalem.
Earlier the UN General Assembly passed a resolution on Thursday 21 December 2017 with an overwhelming majority rejecting President Trump’s recognition of Jerusalem as the capital of Israel. The resolution was approved by 128 countries, with 35 countries abstaining while nine voting against the resolution including United States, Israel, Guatemala, Honduras, Marshall Islands, Micronesia, Narau, Palau and Togo.
The UN resolution was passed in spite of “blackmail and intimidation” by Trump and US ambassador to the UN, Nicky Haley to cut US aid to countries voting for the resolution.
Earlier on Monday 18 December the US had vetoed a similar resolution at the UN Security Council.
Israeli sovereignty over Jerusalem has never been recognised internationally, and all countries currently maintain their embassies in Tel Aviv.
A wave of commotion has been spurred across the globe in response to US President Donald Trump’s decision to recognise Jerusalem as Israel’s capital earlier in December.
Thousands of people gathered around Australia for the “Hands Off Jerusalem” rally for Palestine. Hosted by the Palestine Action Group Sydney, hundreds marched to Sydney Town Hall on Sunday 17 December 2017.
Despite global condemnation, Trump announced the fate of the long-disputed city in a short speech delivered at the White House on 6 December
The president also announced his plans to relocate the US Embassy from Tel Aviv to Jerusalem, fulfilling his campaign pledge to improve US relations with Israel.
“I have determined that it is time to officially recognise Jerusalem as the capital of Israel. While previous presidents have made this a major campaign promise, they failed to deliver. Today, I am delivering.” – Donald Trump, US President
Trump’s announcement, long sought by Israel, has broken international consensus and reversed American foreign policy in the Middle East. World leaders have advised Trump to reconsider, warning it could unsettle peace efforts and inflame tensions within the region and beyond.
“Moving the embassy at this stage will have repercussions in the Palestinian, Arab and Islamic arenas and threatens the two state solution” – King of Jordan, Abdullah
“President trump made the biggest mistake of his life because instead of encouraging the parties to sit together, the parties to put all core issues including Jerusalem on the table and negotiating in good faith, he dictates” – Saeb Erekat, Palestine Liberation Organisation secretary-general
“Jerusalem is a final status issue that must be resolved through direct negotiations between two parties on the basis of the relevant Security Council and General Assembly resolutions, taking into account the legitimate concerns of both the Palestinian and the Israeli sides” – Antonio Guterres, United Nations secretary-general
Meanwhile, protests opposing Trump and his decision erupted in the Middle East and other parts of the world. Palestinian leaders are furious by the changes, calling for three “days of rage” across Jerusalem, Gaza and the West Bank where angry demonstrations took over.
Being home to the third most holy site in Islam and the most sacred site for Jews, the status of Jerusalem is a focal issue in the Israeli-Palestinian peace process. Since occupying West Jerusalem in 1948 and the Eastern half of the city in 1967, Israel proclaims all of Jerusalem as their “eternal, undivided capital”. Although Israel controls the city, Palestinians demand the city’s eastern sector as the capital of a future independent state.
The change in US policy not only endorses Israel’s de-facto annexation of East Jerusalem, which has not yet been internationally recognised, but also authorises Israeli sovereignty over the city. Once again, there has been an international failure to address Israeli human rights violations and a lack of recognition and acknowledgement towards the Palestinians.
For years, the United States has positioned itself as the primary mediator between Israelis and Palestinians; nevertheless, Trump’s announcement reinforces its perpetual alliance with the Jewish State.
The status quo in Jerusalem continues to be abrogated and any prospect of peace between Israelis and Palestinians seems more likely to be jeopardised for the near and far future.