by Ruth Morales Cosano
On December 6, 2017 the President of the United States acknowledged Jerusalem as the capital of Israel and declared its intentions to move their embassy from Tel Aviv to this city. Going a step further, Donald Trump recognized Israel claims towards the city, even though not even the international community agrees on acknowledging Jerusalem as the capital of the Jewish state.
The American President’s resolution was applauded by Israeli citizenship as well as by its Prime Minister, Benjamin Netanyahu, who claimed that “this decision reflects the president’s commitment to an ancient but enduring truth”. However, this step was not welcomed with such glee by other countries, and certainly it was not well received by the Palestinians (who claim East Jerusalem as its legitimate capital).
The UN General Assembly met and issued an overwhelming supported resolution (only 9 countries opposed) in which US was asked to take back its recognition of Jerusalem as the capital of Israel. On the other hand, the Turkish President, Recep Tayyip Erdogan, took the US’s decision as an attack on the Muslim world and says Turkey will never accept Jerusalem as Israel’s capital. Besides, most of the Muslim countries as well as the Arab League condemned this measure and considered it will increase tension in the region.
Even though Trump assessed that it is a great deal for the Israelis as well as for the Palestinians, reactions have been completely the opposite in Palestine. President Mahmoud Abbas ensured that this action is aimed at undermine all peace efforts and stressed that in spite of everything Jerusalem will always remain the capital of the Palestinian state. On the other side, the leader of Hamas, Ismail Haniya called for a new intifada and agreed with Abbas in that Trump’s pronouncement was an aggression against Palestinian people.
Besides the political response, Palestinians have also expressed their disapproval and contested the American decision by taking to the streets. First in the December demonstrations and later on in the Great March of Return started in March, the Palestinian community has engaged in protests both in the West Bank and in Gaza to protest against the illicit decision and, among other demands, to ask for to return their former homes and the end of Gaza’s blockade.
It seems that the American President did not want to listen to the admonitions and requests that his counterparts have issued and went ahead with his plans. The ceremony held on 14 May 2018, in which the American embassy was inaugurated in Jerusalem, meant a step further in the demonstration of power and indemnity enjoyed by the American and Israeli authorities.
Regardless of the many resolutions from different international bodies condemning the actions of both countries, there has not been any meaningful change and the situation of violence in the Palestinian territories that started more than a century ago remains. However, this has never meant that locals would give up raising their voices, looking for solutions, fighting and claiming a life with full democratic rights. Despite the challenging new and daunting old constraints, hope for a pacific solution has always remained as well as a constant work to get it has.