By Asish Samson
The US has decided to recognize the city of Jerusalem as the capital of Israel. President Donald Trump is expected to announce the decision in a speech later today. Trump has previously promised the move during his presidential campaign last year. If done, the US will be the first country to recognize Jerusalem as the capital of Israel. The rest of the world view Tel Aviv as the administrative capital while most Jews and The Government of Israel itself has always viewed it as their spiritual and historical capital.
In a statement US officials have described this move as “ Recognition of reality”. While Israel would surely welcome this development, it was met with anger and hostility from Palestine and the rest of the middle eastern Muslim world. Palestinian protesters burned pictures of the US President on Tuesday while Saudi Arabia termed it as “a flagrant provocation of Muslims” and Egypt’s President asked Trump “ not to complicate the situation”. Meanwhile US government employees were warned not to enter Old city of Jerusalem and the West bank region due to legitimate security concerns due to protests. The Israel Intelligence agency has said that it was preparing for every option including mass protests and violence nationwide.
The US would now be moving its embassy from Tel Aviv to Jerusalem though it is not expected to do this anytime soon due to logistical and safety reasons. Trump is expected to sign a waiver to this effect which US Presidents have been doing regularly since the 1995 Jerusalem embassy act which would block the embassy move until a suitable building is constructed in Jerusalem.
Jerusalem is the holiest site in all of Judaism while also being a religiously and historically significant to Christians worldwide and the third holiest site in Islam. In the past 50 years Israel has built about a dozen settlements in East Jerusalem which according to international law are strangely “illegal” though Israel has always maintained its sovereignty over the city. It has remained a core issue in the Israel- Palestinian conflict which has been going on since its inception. Trump has promised an end to this conflict though he has never publicly endorsed the Two state solution. Jared Kushner, Trump’s advisor and Son in Law being a orthodox Jew is said to be having an influential part in this issue.
Everything said and done, this is just one bold step in a long process which would end this conflict though it is a step which is more than the previous administrations have done which were happy maintaining the status quo in this particular issue. The Obama Administration were particularly supportive of Palestine which angered the Israeli government. Now, they will have felt more supportive under Trump now that Trump has made his intentions clear through his actions rather than words like the previous presidents.