Donald Trump’s madness in declaring Jerusalem as the capital of Israel might please the right-wingers inside the White House, but his move has unleashed anger and temporary unity in the Arab world. It is nothing but a clear provocation which will fuel further unrest in a region where the Islamic State is a waning force and Syria is increasingly turning into a proxy war involving all major powers in the region and beyond.
Since Trump’s declaration there have been various clashes between Palestinians and Israeli security forces while Hamas and Hezbollah have already declared an intifada. Most Arab leaders have momentarily set their differences aside to condemn the move. But this will not change anything.
Moving the US embassy to Jerusalem does not spell the end of the peace process but Trump’s declaration merely confirmed that the peace process has long been dead. With this latest move, any hope of this being revived is close to impossible, at least as long as Trump stays in the White House.
The US president continuously refers to Israel and the Palestinians, clearly refusing to recognise the existence of the Palestinian state which is recognised by 136 UN members and since 2012 has a status of a non-member observer state at the UN – which amounts to a de facto recognition of statehood.
However, Israeli premier Benjamin Natanyahu is rejoicing at Trump’s gift. The US has ditched its feeble diplomatic efforts to facilitate a peace deal between Israelis and Palestinians and is now four-square behind Israel’s systematic destruction of the peace process.
For years, successive Israeli governments have been stealing land from their legal Arab owners, and now Palestinians have been robbed of their hope of having their own capital in East Jerusalem.
As the sorely missed Palestinian American academic Edward Said had warned in 1995, “unless Jerusalem is re-projected and represented as a jointly held capital, not as an exclusively Jewish capital, it will continue to be hostage to Israel’s deeply offensive designs.”
Since 1967, Israel has consistently conjured a false image of what it wants the world to believe, and its actions on the ground turned this fallacious idea into reality. The idea that Jerusalem has been the ‘eternal and undivided’ capital of Israel for 3,000 years is supported by fabricated facts steeped in the realms of history, culture and the imagination.
This Israeli vision was accompanied by the occupation of Arab East Jerusalem which turned Palestinians into a minority through intensive colonisation and by separating them from the West Bank.
There will be no peace in Palestine unless the problem of Jerusalem is resolved. The city has been attacked and contested by many peoples and religions over the course of history and to this day it remains a central node in the Middle East conflict together with the fate of the Palestinian refugees of 1948.
French President Emmanuel Macron did not mince his words. Trump’s announcement is a violation of international law, Macron said. However, the world, including Arab countries, will soon quell its anger and continue to look on in silence as it has been doing since the 1967.
Arab procrastination and the Palestinian leadership’s perpetual failure to create a united front and project their visions, aims and hopes to the rest of the world have only created more violence, humiliation and suffering for the millions of Palestinians in Palestine and the rest of the world.
Now, with the peace process all but dead, Trump has taken away any faint hope Palestinians might have had of ending the military occupation in their land and having their own state (and capital city), shared with or besides an Israeli state. The Palestinian dream is set to become a permanent nightmare while the Zionist one is now, more than ever, reality.