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US recognition of Jerusalem 'kiss of death' for peace process

Posted by on Dec. 6, 2017 at 8:38 AM
  • 120 Replies

An expected announcement by President Donald Trump that the US will become the first country to recognise Jerusalem as Israel's capital has been dubbed a "kiss of death" for the Middle East peace process by the Palestinians.

But an Israeli minister urged other countries to follow the US lead.

Mr Trump is expected to confirm the decision in a speech later.

He will also approve moving the US embassy from Tel Aviv to Jerusalem, US officials say.

This could, however, be delayed because of logistical and security issues, as well as the need to find a location.

The prospect of Jerusalem recognition has prompted global reaction ranging from concern to alarm.

The Palestinians' representative to the UK, Manuel Hassassian, told the BBC that the changes to US policy on Jerusalem amounted to a "kiss of death" for the two-state solution in peace efforts and were like a "declaration of war".

"This is the last straw that will break the camel's back," he said. "I don't mean war in terms of conventional war, I mean war in terms of diplomacy."

Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu has yet to comment officially, but Education Minister Naftali Bennett described it as a "big step towards regional peace" and said other countries should move their embassies too.

He added that it would force Israel's "enemies" to accept that Jerusalem would never be divided.

But Pope Francis called for the "status quo" to be respected. Dialogue would only come through "recognising the rights of all people" in the region, he said.

Theresa May said she would speak to Mr Trump about the US move.

The UK's position on Jerusalem had not changed, the prime minister told Parliament. The city's status should be the subject of negotiation and it should be the shared capital of Israel and a Palestinian state, she added.

Israel has always regarded Jerusalem as its capital, while the Palestinians want East Jerusalem to be the capital of a future Palestinian state.

In recognising Jerusalem as Israel's capital, the US becomes the first country to do so since the foundation of Israel in 1948.

What is so contentious about Jerusalem's status?

The issue goes to the heart of Israel's conflict with the Palestinians, who are backed by the Arab and wider Islamic world.

The city is home to key religious sites sacred to Judaism, Islam and Christianity, especially in East Jerusalem.

Israel annexed the sector from Jordan after the 1967 Middle East war and regards the entire city as its indivisible capital.

According to the 1993 Israel-Palestinian peace accords, its final status is meant to be discussed in the latter stages of talks.

Israeli sovereignty over Jerusalem has never been recognised internationally and all countries maintain their embassies in Tel Aviv.

Since 1967, Israel has built a dozen settlements, home to about 200,000 Jews, in East Jerusalem. These are considered illegal under international law, though Israel disputes this.

In recognising Jerusalem as Israel's capital, the US could reinforce Israel's position that settlements in the east are valid Israeli communities.

What is the US proposing?

Trump administration officials said recognising Jerusalem as Israel's capital was an acknowledgment of "historical and current reality" by the US government.

However, specific boundaries of the city would remain subject to a final status agreement, the officials said. The status of holy sites would not be affected.

Mr Trump would also direct the state department to begin the process of moving the US embassy to Jerusalem - but this could take several years as it still has to be designed and built and security concerns would need to be addressed.

He originally promised the move to pro-Israel voters during his campaign for the presidency.

The US officials added that the president would still sign a regular waiver blocking the embassy's move from Tel Aviv to Jerusalem until the new building was completed.

Successive presidents have signed waivers on the grounds of national security for the 1995 Jerusalem Embassy Act, which mandates moving the embassy.

Mr Trump has vowed to pursue a peace agreement between Israelis and Palestinians, led by his son-in-law and top adviser Jared Kushner.

An administration official said the new US policy on Jerusalem was not designed to favour Israel in that process.

What other reaction has there been?

  • Saudi Arabia, an ally of the US, called the new policy "a flagrant provocation to Muslims"
  • Hamas leader Ismail Haniya said recognition crossed "all red lines"
  • China warned against escalating tensions in the Middle East
  • Jordan's King Abdullah said the decision would "undermine efforts to resume the peace process"
  • Egypt's President Abdul Fattah al-Sisi urged Mr Trump "not to complicate the situation in the region"
  • Turkey called for a summit of Muslim countries in December to discuss the developments
  • Iranian President Hassan Rouhani said "Muslims must stand united against this major plot"

No sign it's a bargaining chip

Analysis by Barbara Plett-Usher, state department correspondent, BBC News

By recognising Jerusalem as Israel's capital President Trump is fulfilling a campaign promise. There is no other obvious reason he is doing this now.

Administration officials said he would simply be acknowledging reality - that Jerusalem functions as Israel's capital. They said the decision would not determine final status issues such as boundaries and sovereignty - that is still left to negotiations.

On other core issues of the Israeli-Palestinian conflict, Arab and Muslim leaders may be able to work with changes in the US approach but Jerusalem is also holy land, not just a disputed capital.

Jordan and Saudi Arabia are custodians of Islam's holy sites and have issued strong warnings that this move could inflame the Muslim world.

There is also no indication that this is a bargaining chip to advance the peace process: according to the officials, President Trump is not expected to publicly endorse a two-state solution.

It sounds like the Palestinians will get nothing. Perhaps there is a wider strategy at work but it looks like a workaround so the president can satisfy his pro-Israel voters.

http://www.bbc.com/news/world-middle-east-42250399

by on Dec. 6, 2017 at 8:38 AM
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Replies (1-10):
cynnie22
by Silver Member on Dec. 6, 2017 at 8:53 AM

WASHINGTON — President Trump will announce Wednesday that he is beginning the process of moving the American Embassy in Israel from Tel Aviv to Jerusalem, one of the most consequential foreign policy decisions of his presidency so far.

The move – mandated by Congress but waived for national security reasons for 22 years – could potentially complicate peace efforts in the Middle East. The Palestinian Authority and rest of the Arab world opposes the move, but the Israeli government would welcome the acknowledgment of Jerusalem as its capital — something no other nation has done.

The plan, outlined to reporters Tuesday night by three senior administration officials on condition of anonymity ahead of a formal announcement, is still in its early stages. It could still take years to find a site for the new embassy, get funding, and build and secure the facility, the officials said. There are about 1,000 U.S. diplomatic personnel at the current U.S. embassy in Tel Aviv, with a smaller existing consulate in Jerusalem.

Until the new embassy opens, the officials said, Trump will continue to waive the Jerusalem Embassy Act. That 1995 law that requires the president to move the embassy to Jerusalem, or else give Congress a notice every six months that it's not in the national security interest of the United States to do so. 

It's that waiver forcing Trump's hand this week. Trump waived the embassy move in June; his second waiver was due on Monday. 

Trump, who prides himself on his negotiating skills, has been seeking what he calls "one of the toughest deals of all" – an Israeli-Palestinian peace agreement that would finally end decades of failed and frustrating diplomacy.

The officials, who spoke on condition of anonymity ahead of Trump's official announcement, said the president would portray the move as an acknowledgement of a historical and political fact: That Jerusalem has always been Israel's capital city and seat of government.

Yet Jerusalem is a major point in controversy: While Israel sees Jerusalem as its undivided, "eternal" capital, the Palestinians also claim east Jerusalem as the capital of their future state, and no other country has its Israeli embassy in Jerusalem. Israel captured east Jerusalem in 1967 and later annexed it. 

In his address from the White House Wednesday, Trump will also signal to the Arab world that he remains committed to the Middle East peace process, the officials said. Trump will say he's still open to a two-state solution that would have Israel and Palestine coexist as separate nations, and that existing borders should be respected until a final agreement. 

https://www.usatoday.com/story/news/politics/2017/12/06/trump-move-u-s-embassy-israel-jerusalem/919927001/

cynnie22
by Silver Member on Dec. 6, 2017 at 8:57 AM

I feel for the Jews and the Palenstines.  I don't believe what the Brits did after WW2 was right, but it happened. They have to find a way to move forward.  

Shabby_Chic
by Member on Dec. 6, 2017 at 9:17 AM
4 moms liked this
I don't feel for the Palestinians. Jews were removed from their home which was in Palestine, years ago. Many Jews were killed and were driven away from other areas where they tried to make a home. The u.n. partitioned land that was at one point theirs.
Sparkles4Lui
by Platinum Member on Dec. 6, 2017 at 9:23 AM
Seems like that was their "solution to the Jewish problem".

https://en.m.wikipedia.org/wiki/Theodor_Herzl

Quoting cynnie22:

I feel for the Jews and the Palenstines.  I don't believe what the Brits did after WW2 was right, but it happened. They have to find a way to move forward.  

Sparkles4Lui
by Platinum Member on Dec. 6, 2017 at 9:25 AM
God removed them because they didn't keep their end of the promise.

Quoting Shabby_Chic: I don't feel for the Palestinians. Jews were removed from their home which was in Palestine, years ago. Many Jews were killed and were driven away from other areas where they tried to make a home. The u.n. partitioned land that was at one point theirs.
nb34
by Platinum Member on Dec. 6, 2017 at 9:28 AM
2 moms liked this

So I assume you would be okay with Native Americans to remove you from this land that at one point was theirs, right?

Do you even listen to the absurdity of your own comment? Why should Palestinians who live on that land and have lived on that land for over a thasound of years move or be killed so that Jews who supposedly lived there over 2000 year ago and had left for over 2000 years be allowed to move there? Most of the Jews supposedly moving back to a land that has been inhabited by others for thousands of years are European Jews that have nothing to do with the original middle eastern Jews who were supposedly pushed out of those land thousands of years ago.

Quoting Shabby_Chic: I don't feel for the Palestinians. Jews were removed from their home which was in Palestine, years ago. Many Jews were killed and were driven away from other areas where they tried to make a home. The u.n. partitioned land that was at one point theirs.


JordannRenee
by on Dec. 6, 2017 at 9:33 AM
3 moms liked this

So if tomorrow the UN showed up and told you to leave your house and get out - your land was being returned to the Natives who lived on it generations ago because they have a book that says it was theirs - you'd leave without a fight? No bitching or moaning? Everything would be fair in square in your book?

Depending on where you're at in the US there is a possibility that our government killed and drove Native Americans out of the area that you live in. 

Quoting Shabby_Chic: I don't feel for the Palestinians. Jews were removed from their home which was in Palestine, years ago. Many Jews were killed and were driven away from other areas where they tried to make a home. The u.n. partitioned land that was at one point theirs.


Clairwil
by Ruby Member on Dec. 6, 2017 at 9:35 AM
1 mom liked this


Quoting cynnie22:

I don't believe what the Brits did after WW2 was right

It wasn't right.   Just convenient.

Amin al-Husseini (1929)
Grand Mufti of Jerusalem
In office
1921 – 1937[1][2][3][4]
Preceded byKamil al-Husayni
Succeeded byHussam ad-Din Jarallah
President of the Supreme Muslim Council
In office
9 January 1922 – 1937

When Mohammed Amin al-Husseini met with Hitler and Ribbentrop in 1941, he assured Hitler that 'The Arabs were Germany's natural friends because they had the same enemies... namely the English, the Jews, and the Communists'



On the other side, some very clubbable Jewish gentlemen, who dressed British and spoke impeccable English, did some very effective back-room lobbying, to get the Balfour Declaration revived.

It seemed like the easy option.   'Our sort of people, don't 'cha know?'


It is the sort of deal Trump would have loved.   Immediate gratification at the expense of future problems, paying off on a campaign promise to a small interest group who offered future support, with a bit of revenge thrown in, and the feel (and publicity) of being seen to be important.   And hey, it might work.   And if it doesn't work?   Somebody else's problem.   Win-win.

nb34
by Platinum Member on Dec. 6, 2017 at 10:00 AM

Exactly correct. They didn't want the Jews on thier own lands. Also, after WWII they didn't know what to do with all the refugees, especially that the US was turning some of their ships away. What better way to solve their problem than to send them all to the ME, and make it their problem.

Quoting Sparkles4Lui: Seems like that was their "solution to the Jewish problem". https://en.m.wikipedia.org/wiki/Theodor_Herzl
Quoting cynnie22:

I feel for the Jews and the Palenstines.  I don't believe what the Brits did after WW2 was right, but it happened. They have to find a way to move forward.  


cynnie22
by Silver Member on Dec. 6, 2017 at 10:07 AM
1 mom liked this

Does anyone fear this move will increase tensions in the middle east?  Will help ease tensions in the middle east?

Perhaps at first there will be a huge uproar and then things will settle down?

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