Why Relocating US Embassy to Jerusalem is a Bad Idea

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It is now up to the US law makers, and the upcoming administration to ask themselves if they want to do away with the two-state solution for good. If the answer is in the negative, they must immediately back away from recognizing Jerusalem as the capital of Israel. Rather, they should work towards a just solution to the Arab Israeli conflict that guarantees equal freedoms and rights for the Palestinians.

ATIF SHAMIM SYED | Caravan Daily

[dropcap]T[/dropcap]hree Republican senators, Ted Cruz, Dean Heller and Marco Rubio have introduced legislation for recognizing Jerusalem as the capital of Israel, and moving the American embassy to the city. Currently, the US embassy is located in Tel Aviv. The plan is also supported by the president-elect, Donald Trump.

The recognition of Jerusalem as the capital and relocating the American embassy is a highly controversial move that will not only put the final nail in the coffin of the two-state solution, but will also ignite the entire Middle East.

Despite the controversy surrounding this move, the nominee American ambassador to Israel, David Friedman also announced in a statement that he would move the embassy to Jerusalem. This position is in stark contradiction to the traditional US policy which does not allow recognition of Jerusalem as the capital of Israel.

It must be mentioned here that David Friedman also heads an organization that has raised millions of dollars for an illegal settlement which has been established in the northern part of Jerusalem. Donald Trump’s son-in-law, Jared Kushner’s family is also a regular donator to the same organization.

United Nations considers East Jerusalem as a Palestinian territory under Israeli occupation. It also foresees the city becoming the capital of two different states, Palestine and Israel.

Resolution number 181 (II) which was passed in November 1947 calls for the complete internationalization of the city under UN administration. The United Nations has maintained this position ever since

Moreover, the General Assembly does not Recognize Jerusalem as the capital of Israel. It has repeatedly called upon Israel to stop taking unilateral measures in the city.

There are six UN Security Council resolutions on the matter declaring that Israel’s claim of a unified Jerusalem as its eternal capital was a violation of international law. Resolution 478 of the Security Council advises UN members not to have any kind of diplomatic representation within the city.

In 2004, the International Court of Justice also described East Jerusalem as a Palestinian territory occupied by Israel.

This means that moving the American embassy to Jerusalem will be a violation of international law. It will also sound the death knell for the two-state solution to the Arab-Israeli conflict. This is exactly what the outgoing US secretary of State, John Kerry has been accusing Israel of. Kerry has bitterly complained that Israel has practically sabotaged the two-state solution with its policy of establishing illegal settlements in East Jerusalem and the West Bank.

On the contrary, the American ambassador-designate to Israel, David Friedman is a supporter of Jewish settlements on Palestinian territory. His views on the status of Jerusalem also contradict with the long standing policy of the US. In the appointment statement he bluntly called Jerusalem the ‘eternal capital’ of Israel. Friedman thinks that the embassy move will not be a nuclear shock.

David Friedman’s views seem to echo the beliefs of his boss, Donald Trump who promised the electorate during his election campaign that once he was in the White House, he would recognize Jerusalem as the capital of Israel, and the move the American embassy from Tel Aviv to the holy city.

Recently, a spokesman for Trump reaffirmed that the president-elect is still firm on his pre-election position regarding Jerusalem, however, he declined to give a timetable for moving the embassy.

It seems that Donald Trump and his team are blissfully unaware of the diplomatic earthquake that will follow if such a move was actually made.  Most of the countries that have diplomatic relations with Israel have their embassies in Tel Aviv. If America moves its embassy, other countries may also follow suit. It will be the complete destruction of the peace process.

If the US embassy is relocated to Jerusalem, it will render the fate hundreds of thousands of Palestinians in East Jerusalem as unimportant and of little consequence. In a stark contrast to the Jewish minority, the Palestinian population of East Jerusalem is already extremely impoverished. There is an acute shortage of houses for Palestinians in the midst of booming settlement activity for Jews.

Shifting the US embassy to Jerusalem will encourage Israel into expanding its illegal settlement activity. Over the past five decades, America has stuck to the position that Israeli settlements are illegal. Recently, America abstained from a UN Security Council resolution that condemned settlement activities. This affirmed America’s traditional approach towards the conflict, and how it viewed Israeli settlements. President-elect, Donald Trump, however, seems to believe that Israeli settlements are not only legal, but they also have no significance in the peace process.

American ambassador’s affirmation of the Israeli claims over the city of Jerusalem is bound to embolden hard-line Israelis into carrying out more incursions into the Al-Aqsa compound. This will ignite the Arab street and bring more upheaval to region already reeling from years of political upheaval and wars.

It is now up to the US law makers, and the upcoming administration to ask themselves if they want to do away with the two-state solution for good. If the answer is in the negative, they must immediately back away from recognizing Jerusalem as the capital of Israel. Rather, they should work towards a just solution to the Arab Israeli conflict that guarantees equal freedoms and rights for the Palestinians.
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All opinions and views expressed in columns and blogs and comments by readers are those of individual writers and do not necessarily reflect the editorial policy of Caravan Daily

 

theclarionindia
theclarionindiahttps://clarionindia.net
Clarion India - News, Views and Insights about Indian Muslims, Dalits, Minorities, Women and Other Marginalised and Dispossessed Communities.

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