In the customary public international law there is nothing as one sovereign state declaring a city of other states as the capital city. President Donald J. Trump declaring the Eastern Jerusalem de facto part of Israel and of course the capital city lacks merit in the international law as we know it. USA has no locus standi to unilaterally declare Jerusalem a de jure capital of Israel.
When President Trump and his administration decided to make such provocative declaration early December 2017, it did not just come from blues. Actually, Republicans have been supporting the course of Israel since its inception in 1948, a historical fact that we cannot dispute. USA has always armed Israel after the Second World War. It was also agreed that the Jewish State must enjoy international protection and safeguard. This has resulted into regional crisis known as Arab Israeli War in 1957 and after. The crisis with Arab State of Palestine has been caused by the Israeli illegal occupation of their alleged territory including the old city of Jerusalem.
The Al Fatah of the former Palestinian leader Yesser Arafat started the struggle of liberation using military approach. Arafat indeed did not succeed till his sad death in France. Another militant movement started as a political party known as Hamas and it occupied Gaza as its headquarter. Israel has pushed Palestinians out of Jerusalem to Ramallah. Palestinians have never ceased from their claim of Jerusalem as part of their territorial integrity. The occupied East of Jerusalem and West Bank has been the point of serious contention in the peace process and the international negotiations which USA has played a major role. In 1967 Arab – Israeli war, the questions of boundary became issues of serious international importance. The United Nations committed various debates and commissioners to settle the belligerency but with not success at all.
President Mohamoud Abbas, an elected leader of Palestine has been one modest and civilized negotiator of the deal to liberate Palestine from Israel. His personality is sober and very diplomatic as compared to the Hamas movement and militant approach. Israel has always stood firm by building new settlements.
The former and late Prime Minister Ariel Sharon had even constructed a separation wall to keep Palestinians off their boundary but this did not stop the crisis. Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu has been re-elected and is at the fore front in this crisis. Remember that former President Barrack Obama had proposed two state solution to end the Israeli-Palestinian war. This moved the UN even to move closer to the full recognition of Palestine as a free state by removing it from being an observer statehood. Yet still the question of the borders and particularly Jerusalem remained a hard nut to crack. Both Israel and Palestine struggle to claim the ownership of Jerusalem even if Bethlehem is in Palestine. Israel its capital moved from Jerusalem to Tel Aviv and Jerusalem remained religious city which stands to be a controversial issue between Christians, Jewish, and Muslims. The question of Jerusalem has remained a very crucial area in the peace negotiations and processes adopted by the international community.
President Trump’s proclamation or declaration of Jerusalem as the capital of Israel is not only provocative but it has re-opened the historical litigations that saw many wars in the Middle East. Syria, Jordan, Israel, Egypt and of course Lebanon have not been spared from serious warfare over the issue of Palestine and Israel. The two states have been at war with Palestine claiming that Israel is violating their territorial integrity. Israel has always enjoyed the support of the international community to defend itself from the hostile neighbours.
The Israeli-Palestinian war has caused many deaths, imprisonment and violence on both sides. The two state solution by president Obama was considered the only best solution to end this battle but the border equation still hanged around the neck of the international negotiators and experts. Gaza is like an island surrounded by Israel yet it is part of Palestine. Palestinian territory has shrunk while Israeli border has expanded to Golan Heights near the borders with Syria and Jordan. However, the part of Jerusalem, West Bank is under Israel, the Eastern part has been under occupation. New settlements have been authorized by the Israeli government on controversial territories despite the caution from the international community.
What USA declaration of Jerusalem as the rightful capital of Israel finds its resonance in the Bible, a fact that has even worsened the situation. It is not in good taste of the international law and may create more problems for the Middle East which is dominantly Muslim. Another complication is Iranian interest in acquiring nuclear capability which President Obama had attempted to negotiate. Iran has never stopped its quest for nuclear power to counter-measure nuclear Israel. Israel has always been against Iranian quest for nuclear power due to fear of possible cause of collision should there be hostility. If anything, President Obama parted ways with Israeli PM due to his position on the two state solution and his sober reaction to stop Iran from acquiring nuclear capability.
Remember that President Trump said it during his campaign that he was unhappy with his predecessor’s failure to resolve the Middle East crisis. After winning the office he had to meet the leaders of Arab League in Saudi Arabia during which he talked passionately against terrorists and urged each Arab state to fight against its terrorists and stop terrorists from spilling over to other states including the USA. After this high level meeting Mr. Trump visited Israel and Jerusalem before visiting the EU. All his attempts to support Israel in disguise did not auger well for some Arab nations. His declaration of Jerusalem is part of his pledges to bring lasting peace to the Middle East.
The United Nations, EU and other members of the International Community including the UK have condemned such declaration as illegal and a call for more trouble in the already troubled region. Mr. Trump is not backing down from his position by sending his Vice President to visit the EU and some Arab countries. Already there are protests and violent demonstrations against America. Some calling for USA to quit the veto powers.
Already the issue of North Korea is far from over. The war in Yemen has worsened. Now the peace negotiation between Israel and Palestine is stalled. How will Mr. Trump make America great again? This is a question of time. Remember that Pope Francis has rejected this unilateral declaration of the USA and recommends the parties to rely on the international law. Israel has complimented president Trump for this courage and swore to stand by him. At the same time.
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