A Thoughtless Declaration

Donald Trump, after declaring his country’s recognition of Jerusalem as the capital of Israel, reiterated his strong commitment to facilitate a lasting peace agreement in the Middle East. Yet, peace seems further than ever, as this decision of his sparked violent protests across Palestine, mass rallies across the world, and more division than ever in this never-ending conflict.

It is obvious that Trump’s inflammatory decision meant solely to please his voter base-the recognition, which was a campaign promise, was influenced heavily by his evangelical voters and far-right donors, such as Sheldon G. Adelson. For a purely political move, Trump has earned near unanimous condemnation in the UN Security council, alienated integral Muslim allies, such as Jordan, which were imperative to stabilising the Middle East, and perhaps damaged the conflict irreversibly- a steep price to pay for voter validation.

Thousands of Palestinians took to the streets to demonstrate against the US President, resulting in two deaths, after clashes with the Israeli troops. Across the Arab and Muslim worlds, thousands more protesters took to the streets on the Muslim holy day to express solidarity with the Palestinians and outrage at Trump’s reversal of decades of U.S. policy. There was condemnation in the UN, with France, Italy, Germany, Britain and Sweden calling on the US to “bring forward detailed proposals for an Israeli-Palestinian settlement”.

While there seems to be a facade of the US being isolated on this issue against the world, it is worrying that this will become just another stone thrown at Palestine which will be forgotten the next day. Precedent shows that global leaders do not go beyond lip service to the Palestine cause. The UN Security Council meeting is merely symbolic given the US veto and the General Assembly, which has shown to be in favour of Palestine, is powerless. In the past, individual countries, especially in the Middle East, have not taken the responsibility to back their words with consequences. It will be seen how far Trump has tested Saudi Arabia and other Middle East Allies patience with this declaration, but conditions seem sceptical.

There is a reason King Abdullah of Jordan warned Trump on this act, not just for moral reasons- this simple act of declaration gives ammunition to the many terrorist outfits to cause further destabilisation in the Middle East. This injustice must not be forgotten, for the sake of peace, if not for justice. Governments – including Pakistan – must take up this issue outside the auspices of the UN.

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