Millennium Post

Jerusalem in jeopardy

When Donald Trump was voted to power in November last year, people across the world were sensitively aware that the consequences of his leadership would send tremors beyond the American continent. This past week sent another such reverb. By announcing the departure of the US Embassy from Tel Aviv to Jerusalem, Trump hit the nail upon a very murky head, destabilising an international zone that has been the bedrock of conflict, witnessing heated debates since the last century that are yet to reach an optimum closure. While the Israeli government has been satisfied with Trump's unprecedented move, the international community has unequivocally expressed its distaste for this change that could hamper the existing geopolitical reality of the Israel-Palestine-Arab world. Home to multiple religions, Jerusalem has been tugged at by various stakeholders. This conflict deepened in the 20th Century, with the Palestine and Israel both claiming ownership over parts of the West Bank, Gaza, and Jerusalem. The simplest solution now has been understood as a two-state policy, where Israel and Palestine must reach a conclusion about their share of territory and ownership, contingent upon negotiations. In this conflict, the most perplexing question has perhaps been the status of Jerusalem, which remains in jeopardy. Both Israel and Palestine continue to claim Jerusalem as their capital. The idea has been to avoid a unilateral decision that would break the international consensus and preclude an important debate that has still been left open to negotiations. Restricting the matter of Jerusalem as a concern simply between Israel and the Palestine, the international community has refrained from egging on this battle of territories by restricting its scope to the concerned nations. Historically, in 1947, the division drawn by the United Nations had declared Jerusalem as an independent, international city. However, the subsequent war concerning Israel's declaration of Independence clearly split the city into two halves. The West of the city was left in Israel's kitty, whereas the East, containing the important Old City, was gained by Jordan. However, another war in 1967 brought the Eastern part of the city also under Israel's sovereignty. Nevertheless, Palestinians continue to understand Jerusalem as the capital of the future state of Palestine. This murky ground has so forth been untainted by the international community which has duly recognised Tel Aviv as the administrative capital of Israel. Trump's sudden move which he says is symbolic of the peace of this region, is in fact, quite to the contrary. It dismantles the years of battle between different religious ethnicities, who have sought to overcome the forceful unification by a single brand of thought or ideology. Before 1980, several countries had located their embassies in Jerusalem, as Israel has recognised the undivided city as its sovereign capital. However, in light of the UN imposed sanction where the UN Security Council declared Israel's annexation as a violent disobedience towards international law, all countries were compelled to move their embassies to Tel Aviv. El Salvador and Costa Rica were the last two countries to usher in this wind of change in 2006. Since then, no country has held its embassy in Jerusalem, whereas 86 countries house their embassies in Tel Aviv. In 1995, the US Congress had passed a bill where proponents stated that the country should recognise Israel's sovereignty and consequently move its embassy to the designated capital acceptable by Israel—Jerusalem. However, all Presidents since then, President Clinton, Bush and Obama, have declined to move the embassies citing valid national security concerns. Each President, every six months, circumvented the issue by utilising the presidential waiver system. Trump, looking to aggressively undo whatever the Obama administration had put in place, went against a significant aspect of Republican membership too by declaring this transfer of the US Embassy. Israel, undeniably, is delighted by this announcement of President Trump that legitimises its claim over the disputed land of Jerusalem. However, leaders of the Palestine are far from satisfied. Trump has discounted their struggle of several decades in a farcical bid to bring in peace. The UN has repeatedly enforced that the matter of Jerusalem ought to be resolved only through negotiations between Israel and the Palestine. International engagement in this respect would be dangerous, impinging upon the rightful authority of either stakeholder. More than the authorities, it spells ill for the ground reality, as irked religious sentiments can vent out the worst debacle of public fury. While Trump sits comfortably in the White House and signs a few pieces of paper, to tackle the violent mob would be an uphill task. This declaration has already sent tremors across the Arab world and has not been taken well by the international community either. In a bid to extend his muscle-flexing and probably prove his worth above Obama's, Trump has made a grave international error by recognising Jerusalem as Israel's own. It is better to undo this move than go ahead with it simply as an exercise of inflated whims.
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