Trump derailed the Israeli-Palestinian peace process

December 6, 2017

Photo by jaime.silva (CC BY-NC-ND 2.0)
Photo by jaime.silva (CC BY-NC-ND 2.0)

President Trump has formally recognized Jerusalem as the capital of Israel. He is also planning a year-long process of moving the U.S. embassy from Tel Aviv to Jerusalem. The United States recognizing Jerusalem as the Israeli capital -- a city that the United Nations designated an “international city” in 1947 -- will reinforce Israeli-Palestinian divisions, add tension to an already volatile region, and disrupt the already challenging and fragile peace process.

Trump’s move will eliminate any possibility of the United States acting as a peace-broker and would overturn decades of U.S. policy towards the region, including a longstanding position that Israeli-Palestinian grievances must be resolved through negotiations. His announcement will also reverse 70 years of international consensus and derail any peace initiative between the Palestinians and Israelis.

UNSC resolution 478 declared that the enactment of the 1980 Basic Jerusalem Law -- that proclaimed a unified Jerusalem as the ”eternal and indivisible” capital of Israel -- is a violation of international law. In 2016, former Secretary of State John Kerry said Jerusalem “is the most sensitive issue for both sides” and suggested it be the “internationally recognized capital of the two states.”

Jerusalem is also a part of the Occupied Territories. Israelis moving into these territories is a violation of the Fourth Geneva Convention. Trump's announcement today will be the cause of a sharp spike in unrest and conflict. Turkey has already announced that there will be severe consequences. Palestinian leaders are advocating for demonstrations and protests on the ground, which would trigger turmoil in the region. The U.S. is now out-of-step with the rest of the international community by reinforcing Israel's position that its settlements are lawful and legitimate.

This land is historically significant to all three Abrahamic faiths. Jerusalem is the de facto capital of the holy land for Christians, Jews, and Muslims. The U.S. is violating the religious freedom of Palestinians by recognizing Jerusalem as the capital of the Jewish state.

Once only a global issue, the Palestinian-Israeli conflict is now also a domestic issue. Here at home, our communities will be impacted by the right to free speech when being critical of Israeli policies. Student activists on college campuses will continue to be intimidated and possibly bullied.

The United States’ role in this conflict is critical and has now become problematic by recognizing Jerusalem as the capital. Trump can expect political unrest, stifled peace processes, and further limitations to freedom of religion and freedom of speech.



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