I condemn Donald Trump’s decision to recognise Jerusalem as Israel’s capital, which has been rejected by the majority of world leaders. Shortly before Trump’s announcement, in November 2017, 151 nations of the United Nations General Assembly voted to reject Israeli ties to Jerusalem. Six nations voted against the resolution, and nine abstained. All the Muslim countries of the world including Pakistan and Saudi Arabia have strongly condemned the decision and have shown their timely and the right support for Palestinian Muslims.

President Trump is known for his controversial decision within USA but now he is disturbing international order by giving such statements, which imply that USA is tending to bury the issue of Palestine. The United Nations Security Council held an emergency meeting on December 7 where 14 out of 15 members condemned Trump’s decision. The Security Council said the decision to recognise Jerusalem was in violation of UN resolutions and international law, but was unable to issue a statement without the endorsement of the United States. Britain, France, Sweden, Italy and Japan were among the countries, which criticised Trump’s decision in the emergency meeting.

The T.V channels are roaring with protests against the recognition of Jerusalem as the capital by USA and the write ups on this subject forced me to think as to why this has been attracted attention of the world? I think USA has deliberately re-announced it with some motives to benifit Israel.

America has always backed Israel’s decisions of putting an unjust claim to the Palestinian soil. Back in 2002, when Israel started building a “security fence” claiming to protect Israeli citizens from suicide bombers, it clearly violated the international law. Israel still continues to do that with the support of US. The entire world witnessed that the separation wall created by the Israelis is a major de facto annexation of Palestinian territories. Israel’s goal all along was to increase settlement expansion and to control Palestinian economic areas, agricultural grounds and natural resources like water. The annexation of the land of Palestinians by Israel continues, even though the International Court of Justice has ruled that the West Bank Barrier of Israel is in complete violation of International Law. Currently Israel occupies 261 Jewish-only settlements and ‘outposts’, which are forcefully built on Palestinian land, confiscated by carrying out violent operations.

Israel has fooled the world time and again by launching hostile operations on Palestinians, particularly on Gaza, claiming to protect its citizens. In the turmoil of war waged by Israelis on innocent Palestinians, at least 48,488 Palestinian homes have been demolished by Israel, whereas not even a single Israeli home has been damaged since 1967. Furthermore, at least 9,510 Palestinians are killed since September 29, 2000 and 95,299 Palestinians have been injured. However, US continues its unconventional support to Israel; in year 2016 alone, U.S. provided Israel with at least $10.1 million per day in military aid.

The tension between the member states in the Middle East has always been a key area of interest for the US. Saudi Arabia and Iran both are Muslim majority states, but diplomatically do not see eye to eye on several geo political issues, oil export policies and alliances. For months, America tried to build on harmonious relations with the Middle Eastern countries and it seemed as if the new government aimed at strengthening the ties among allies.

The recent visit of US president to Saudi Arabia and the deal made gave an indication of intentions. However, now the recent decision of Donald Trump will aggravate the political atmosphere in the Middle East, because of the religious implication the city of Jerusalem hold in the Muslim World. Yet US was aiming to take the allies along with the decision, hence leading to a rise in temperature in the political environment.

The recent meeting of Muslim head of states duly chaired by Donald Trump was very meaningful and helpful for USA. It is believed that the intel regarding the Iranian motives against Saudi Arabia was provided by Israel, through the visiting American authority.
The similar information believed to have been passed against Qatar too, which obviously has created a wedge within the Muslim Ummah.

Moreover, USA may have its next move to manipulate some Muslim states to recognize Jerusalem as Capital of Israel. In fact, USA and Israel are glued together because of strong hold of the Jewish lobby in the economy and media of the US. More so, the backing of Fox group to Donald Trump is no more a secret and naturally Donald Trump cannot survive without Jewsish lobby in the USA. So, helping Israel has become a compulsion for President Donald Trump.

Now media from Muslims world will certainly make Jerusalem even more disputed as a capital. I see a serious rift developing between Iran and Saudi Arabia and in the meantime there would be row between Israel on the statement of Army Chief of Iran claiming to destroy Israel in seven and half minutes. The recent statements of the crown prince of Saudi Arabia against Iran, and the statements of Iranian officials against Saudi Arabia should be taken seriously as it can trigger worst situation. Moreover, the world may witness Israel backing some Muslim countries against Iran in the near future as the events unfold.

The confrontation between Iran and Saudi Arabia will further divide the Muslim Ummah and its beneficiaries will be countries like Israel. The past growth of Israel and its ongoing affairs with USA and India will be a power boaster in pursuit for the symbolically acceptance of Jerusalem as Capital followed by its recognition as a country. Lot of people see it as a right of a sovereign state to recognize any other state but this issue is different as the region is disputed and Palestinian land is under forced occupation of Israel. Has USA forgotten the most recent mass killing of women and children in Gaza?

USA should have realised that Jerusalem is religiously important to Muslims for many reasons. First of all, Jerusalem was Islam’s first direction of prayer (Qibla), before this was changed to Makkah. These sentiments and the change of Qibla for Muslims are recorded in the Qur’an 2:142-152. Jerusalem was also a key stage of the Prophet Muhammad’s (S.A.W.) profound nocturnal spiritual journey known as al-Isra’ wal-Mi’raj (“the night journey and ascension”) during which he had a vision of God. Muslim are right in their protest as this area is disputed land and Donald Trump has deliberately declared Jerusalem as capital of Israel, which would rightly charge the emotions of the Muslim.

It looks like that USA has been bent upon to further add fire into the Israel - Palestine issue by making such unwarranted recognition. We need to demand from Donald Trump to immediately withdraw this decision and to apologize from the entire Muslim world for making this relentless decision of recognizing Jerusalem as the Capital of Israel.

 

n            The writer is a PPP Senator, former Interior Minister of Pakistan, and Chairman of think tank “Global Eye” and Senate Body on Interior and Narcotics.