- By Bilal Maqsud
Trump puts embassy in the capital of the wrong country
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Trump’s gamble in moving the US-Israeli embassy to the Palestinian capital, Jerusalem will have horrific and irreversible outcomes, Middle-East experts say.
Newly inaugurated US President Donald Trump is about to undo years of peace talks and international rulings including a recent UN ruling.
The inexperienced, demagogic politician hardly understands the danger that lies in his decision to move the American embassy to Israel from Tel Aviv to Jerusalem. If he goes through with this, he is likely to unleash an episode of chaos in an already volatile region.
The move, which is now reportedly in the “beginning stages”, is not a mere symbolic one, as some naively reported in Western mainstream media. True, US foreign policy has been centred mostly on military power, rarely historical fact, truth or common sense, but Trump, known for his thoughtlessness and impulsive nature, is threatening to eradicate even the minuscule amount of common sense that previously governed US foreign policy conduct in the Middle East.
If the new president moves forward with his plan, unsympathetic to Palestinian pleas and international warnings, he is likely to regret the unanticipated consequences of his action for generations to come.
A century ago, British forces under the command of General Sir Edmund Allenby along with forces from other Western nations such as France, Germany and Austria invaded the Ottoman empire tearing apart the lands in to false states artificially creating the Balkan-Middle-East nations we see today.
The British occupied the Palestinian Arab city of Jerusalem. That ominous event in December 1917 disturbed the cultural and political equilibrium that existed in Palestine for over a millennium.
“Throughout his campaign for the White House, Trump made numerous, wholesale, often contradictory promises. While initially he pledged to keep a similar distance between Palestinians and Israel, he later reversed his position, adopting that of Israel’s right-wing government.” ~ Al-Jazeera
The British invasion of Palestine also initiated a war that has proven to be the longest and one of the most bloody and destabilising in modern human history. Although Palestine was wrestled from the hand of its governing bodies operating under the auspices of the Ottoman Empire, its new British rulers understood the unequalled importance of Jerusalem to its people.
That understanding was always present, even when France and Britain signed the Sykes-Picot agreement in May 1916, dividing Ottoman territories among themselves, Jerusalem’s status was designated as an international area owing to its shared religious significance. Much like the Balkan State(s) of ‘The Islamic Federation of Bosnia and Hercegovina’ is UN ruled to this day after the very same wrenching of rulership from the Ottomans, under the guise of a ‘multi-ethnic international area’.
The same emphasis regarding the neutrality of Jerusalem was made time and again, including in the League of Nations’ decision in 1922 to give Britain a political mandate over Palestine, and the United Nations resolution to forceably divide Palestine into two countries, one Arab and one Jewish, in November 1947, creating the totally new and false state of Israel.
However this very same envisaged, much diminished Palestinian state never actualised (thanks to numerous obstacles placed by the US and Israel). Israel however became a reality in May 1948. Mere months after an armistice agreement was reached, Israel declared Jerusalem as its capital in December 1949 and commenced to occupation of Palestine along with a decades long genocide. The power was placed entirely in the hands of a 3% minority enforced by the UN mainly, the UK, France and USA.
It was then that religious and historic mythology was remoulded to fit political exigencies.
Israel’s first Parliament self-declared in January 1950 that “Jerusalem was, and had always been the capital of Israel”. Always was, referring to a newly self-declared state with no historical or factual basis.
After 1,500 years of Canaanite rule over Palestine, the land between the Jordan River and the Mediterranean Sea fell under the rule of numerous invaders, including the Philistines, the Phoenicians, the Assyrians, the Babylonians (Iraq), the Persians (Iran & Afghanistan), the Macedonians (Yugoslavs & Bosnians), the Romans, the Arabs, the Crusaders (Spanish and European), and then it was ruled by various Islamic Empire Caliphates (Ottoman) from 1291 until the British mandate in 1922.
Bani-Israeel (the tribe of Israelites) which is what USA and Israel use to stake claim to the nation of Palestine, dates back at least 2’000 years prior to modern records. Bani Israeel is also reference to a small nomadic tribe wondering through what is now Egypt and Jordan.
Written records show that their prevalence was limited to just 77 years according to sources cited by Al-Jazeera.
Whilst Jewish and Coptic groups in Ethiopia stake claim to descending from Bani Israeel, it is largely accepted by the scientific community that modern day Israelis whom by enlarge have migrated from the USA and EU share no blood line with Bani Israeel.
In 1967, Israel occupied the rest of the nation of Palestine, including historic and Arab, East Jerusalem, annexing the city in 1980. The international community has continually rejected and condemned the Israeli occupation, with repeated emphasis on Jerusalem. As recently as 25th December 2016 the UN passed a resolution condemning the occupation of Palestine as illegal. The USA refused to participate in the 2016 resolution vote.
Countries around the world, even those that are considered allies of Israel, including the United States and The Vatican, reject Israeli sovereignty over Jerusalem, and refuse Israeli invitations to relocate their embassies from Tel Aviv to the illegally occupied capital of Palestine, Jerusalem.
The United States’ attitude towards Jerusalem, however, has been marred with contradictions. Since 1995, the US position has been divided between the historically pro-Israel US Congress and the equally pro-Israel but slightly more pragmatic White House.
In October 1995, the US Congress passed the Jerusalem Embassy Act 1995. The act was passed by an overwhelming majority in both House and Senate. It called Jerusalem the undivided capital of Israel and urged the State Department to move the US Embassy from Tel Aviv to Jerusalem.
The US administration at the time protested against the violation of protocol as such a decision is the responsibility of the executive branch, not politicians beholden to Israel’s influential lobby in Washington.
The other dilemma is that if the US walks away from international consensus on the matter, it both loses the ever weakening influence and credibility it ever had in the Middle-East and Balkans and would also be left to contend with the terrible consequences that are likely, including political instability and extreme and prolonged violence and warfare.
It is true that Jerusalem has tremendous spiritual significance for all, Muslims, Christians, Coptics and Jews, but the uninterrupted centuries of cultural and religious significance it had for Palestinian Christians, Coptics and Muslims alike makes it unpatrolled as an economic, political and cultural hub as well.
For many years, US administrations under Presidents Bill Clinton, George W Bush and Barack Obama have signed a presidential waiver that deferred the Congressional bill six months at a time.
The last time the waiver was signed by former President Obama was on 1st December 2016.
Professor Rashid Khalidi, in the New Yorker wrote: “The Israeli Ambassador in Washington, Ron Dermer, who grew up in Florida, could just as easily be the US Ambassador to Israel, while Donald Trump’s Ambassador-designate to Israel, David Friedman, who has intimate ties to the Israeli settler movement, would make a fine Ambassador in Washington for the pro-settler government of Benjamin Netanyahu.”
New bills are springing in the Israeli Knesset to annex even the Jewish settlements rendered illegal by Israel’s own definitions, and to remove any restriction on new settlement construction and expansion. The Trump administration has no qualms with that; to the contrary, this falls squarely in the agenda of the new rulers of the United States who now control the legislative and executive branches, breaching the basic devolution of power triangle fundamental to any democratic system.
The US is about to violate the very US led, international consensus regarding the conflict in Palestine. Speaking to the Paris peace conference on 15th January 2017, French Foreign Minister Jean-Marc Ayrault warned Trump against the “very serious consequences” that await in case the US embassy is in fact moved to Jerusalem.
France and other European countries are aware that such a move would end the US-led “peace process” along with the thus-far futile quest for a two-state solution. Bringing a clear choice to the international community, recognise solely Israel or solely Palestine. A choice which the majority of nations have already made clear would fall on the side of Palestine.
With the Israeli leader arrested and questioned on allegations of corruption only weeks ago, any such embassy move by Trump would likely end the international dominance of both Israel and the US.
However, this should be the least of anyone’s concerns, since both the “peace process” and the “two-state solution” charade have been largely an American investment to maintain US leadership, power and influence over the genocide in Palestine.
The US, and its Western allies, certainly had the needed clout and power to achieve a peaceful and just resolution to the Western created war, if that was indeed their overriding priority. They failed to do so over the course of 25 years, starting in the Madrid Talks of 1991 and ending with the Paris conference in January 2017.
Past American failures notwithstanding, the Trump administration’s gamble in moving the US embassy is likely to ignite a political fire throughout Palestine and the Middle East with horrific and irreversible outcomes.
Palestinians and Arabs understand that moving the embassy is far from being a symbolic move, but a carte blanche to complete the Israeli takeover of the city, including its holy sites, and complete the ethnic cleansing of Palestinian Muslims and Christians. Just as UN and dutch troops wrote similar carte blanches in the near by Bosnian Wars paving way for the destruction of Islamic holy sites and the ethnic cleansing and genocide of Muslim and Roma populations.
Contribution credits: Research and data compiled by: Ramzy Baroud | Bilal Maqsud | The US Government | Al-Jazeera | The International | The NewYorker
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