Tue. Dec 12 2017

Why did Trump announce Jerusalem a capital of Israel at this time?

Arabs, Muslims and world leaders knew that the US is to recognise Jerusalem a Jewish city for a long time. If their anger is true, they would have done anything to stop this a long time ago.

Dec 07 2017

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Befor he had decided to announce Jerusalem a Jewish city and Israel's capital, Trump was sure that the Arabs, the Muslims and the Palestinians would do nothing but some outrageous remarks and protests.

Today, the American President Donald Trump announced that Jerusalem is the capital of Israel and said he had directed the US Department of State to start working on moving the American embassy from Tel-Aviv to the holy city. “I have determined that it is time to officially recognise Jerusalem as the capital of Israel,” he said. “While previous presidents have made this a major campaign promise, they failed to deliver. Today, I am delivering.”

For Arabs, Muslims and international leaders and nations, this is an outrageous announcement that should not be delivered before the resolution of the Israeli-Palestinian conflict through peace. Therefore, almost all the Arab, Muslim and international leaders have commented or, let me say, condemned this announcement even top religious leaders from the three main monotheistic religions as they expected this would trigger an unending war. So that, why did Trump choose this time to make this announcement?

Israeli Jewish writers said that he became under the influence of his powerful allies including Vice President Mike Pence and Republican “mega-donor” Sheldon Adelson, but Trump has clearly studied the expected responses to such an announcement and found that it would be a big Zero. He expected his announcement would arouse severe worldwide criticism, but like the balloon, with a very small needle, it will be nothing. This was very clear throughout his speech when he referred to the American recognition of Israel.

He referred to his predecessor Harry Truman, who recognised the state of Israel 70 years ago. His support for Zionists was crucial to the UN adoption of Palestine partition and then his recognition of Israel was crucial that the UN and its member states to recognise Israel. Trump knew very well that the UN and its members states, who followed Truman’s recognition of Israel despite being built in lands that the UN itself did not recognise as Israel, would follow his own recognition of Jerusalem as Israel’s capital.

Prior to Truman’s recognition, US had pledged to Saudi Arabia and its king not to take any decision regarding Palestinian and the conflict with the Zionists without consulting him. But when the US recognised Israel, Saudi Arabia, other Arab and Muslim nations and the world powers have done nothing essential to push the US back or at least ignore its recognition and continue considering Palestine, the land that Israel proclaimed their state on, a Palestinian, Arab or Islamic land.

Today, Trump knows very well that most of the world powers does not recognise Jerusalem because they fear this would undermine their interests and relations with the Arab and Muslim countries. Therefore, he concentrated his efforts on these Arab states and Zionised them to the degree that they became closer to the Israeli and American views regarding the resolution of the Israeli-Palestinian conflict than others. He had the Saudis, who had been the spearhead in the war on Zionism, to adopt his views and dictate them on the Palestinians.

The NY Times revealed early this week that the Saudis have summoned the Palestinian Authority President Mahmoud Abbas to Riyadh to brief him about the US-Israeli peace plan. Of course, this means that they had already adopted it. As the NY Times revealed, the Saudi Crown Prince Mohamed bin Salman “presented [the US] plan that would be more tilted toward the Israelis than any ever embraced by the American government, one that presumably no Palestinian leader could ever accept.” The plan clearly stipulated that even East Jerusalem would never be the capital of the potential future Palestinian state. If this is the issue, what will East Jerusalem be? Of course, together with West Jerusalem the united capital of Israel.

Saudi people launched a couple of years ago a tweet storm with the hashtag: Riyadh is better than Jerusalem. It seems that this storm was run by the Saudi government and intended to prepare the Saudis and the Arab and Muslim nations for this moment. For the Arabs and Muslims, Jerusalem is their third holiest city on earth. When Trump saw that such campaign, which stripped the holy city of its sanctity, did not draw Arabic or Islamic criticism, he became sure the time to announce it a Jewish city had come.

Abbas, who criticised Trump’s announcement and said it had killed the peace process and ended forever the two-state solution, hailed Saudi Arabia after his meeting with the Saudi officials and said nothing. So that, this proves that all the three-day rage he called for will come to an end very soon and he will continue security cooperation with Israel in order to deter any resistance to this announcement. It will be business as usual. Abbas is the Palestinian who helped Israel to end Al-Aqsa Intifada which was sparked-off in 2000 when the late Israeli Prime Minister Ariel Sharon desecrated Al-Aqsa Mosque. He will also be the Palestinian, surely, who will fight against his fellow Palestinians who wish to resist recognition of Jerusalem as Israel’s capital.

For two decades, the Arabs, Muslim and world leaders had been knowing very well that this day would have come anytime because the US Congress adopted what is called the Jerusalem Embassy Act, which urges the federal government to relocate the American embassy to Jerusalem and to recognise it as Israel’s capital, in 1995. Trump’s predecessors put off this decision to avoid tension in the Arab region. Keeping silent for two decades, except some remarks here and there, means that they are consent about this decision.

Furthermore, the Palestinians knew that the US is taking the side of the Israeli occupation and they continued for decades to believe that it is an honest peace mediator. If the PA officials said that the US is no longer an honest mediator for the peace process, they would retreat very soon because Saudi Arabia, which behind doors accepted Trump’s plan, would wave with the Arab (Saudi) Peace Initiative for the resolution of the Israeli-Palestinian conflict and the PA and all the Arab and Muslim States would not distance themselves from it. The Arab League and the OIC have previously adopted it.

“We have declined to acknowledge any Israeli capital at all [for 70 years],” Trump said, “but today we finally acknowledge the obvious: that Jerusalem is Israel’s capital. This is nothing more or less than a recognition of reality. It is also the right thing to do. It’s something that has to be done.” Trump mentioned this to tell the world leaders, who might get angry with his announcement, that: you have been accepting this reality for 70 years, why do you get angry today?

To persuade them with his announcement, he explained: “Today, Jerusalem is the seat of the modern Israeli government. It is the home of the Israeli parliament the Knesset, as well as the Israeli Supreme Court. It is the location of the prime minister and president. It is the headquarters of many government ministries. For decades, US officials have met their Israeli counterparts in Jerusalem.” This means that he considered his announcement something normal and all those who decline it are not more than hypocrites. Trump looked around the world and found that all reasons to put off announcing Jerusalem as Israel’s state are ineffective and not real. Therefore, he decided that this is the best time to make it.

Source: MEMO
Motasem A Dalloul

Motasem A Dalloul

Motasem Ahmed Dalloul is a staff writer at the Middle East Monitor. He is a specialist in the Middle East affairs.
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