US must retract unilateral decision on East Jerusalem

Published: 00:05, Dec 09,2017 | Updated: 22:47, Dec 08,2017


THE US president Donald Trump recognised Jerusalem as Israel’s capital on Wednesday and announced plans to relocate the US embassy there, overturning seven decades of its foreign policy in a move expected to inflame tension in the region and unsettle the prospects for peace in Palestine. Trump also signed a waiver officially delaying the move of the US embassy from Tel Aviv to Jerusalem for six months, as New Age reported on Thursday. The declaration drew nationwide protest in the United States and prompted an unprecedented universal diplomatic backlash. In an immediate response to the US move, the Palestinian president Mahmud Abbas said that the US could no longer play the role of peace-broker after Trump’s decision. France, the United Kingdom, Canada and other countries that normally share imperial interests with the US have sounded warning, stating that the short-sighted decision risks any possibility of peace and the realisation of two-state resolution for Israel-Palestine conflict. Arab world leaders too have reacted similarly and vowed their highest degrees of solidarity with the Palestinians and their right to establish an independent state with Jerusalem as its capital. The final status of Jerusalem has always been the main bone of contention in resolving the Palestinian issue and granting Palestine the status of a sovereign, independent nation state. Reports of violent clashes in protests marches from Jerusalem have already been reported.
In the context of mounting tension in the Israel-occupied Palestinian territory and Middle Eastern countries, consulates of western countries have heightened security. The United Nations Security Council has called for an emergency meeting to discuss the issue. Meanwhile, the UN secretary general Antonio Guterres implicitly criticised Trump’s announcement and warned that Jerusalem’s status must be resolved through direct Israeli-Palestinian negotiations. Successive US governments have avoided declaring Jerusalem the capital of Israel in the absence of an Israeli-Palestinian peace deal as the Palestinians have claimed Jerusalem as their capital. There has been somewhat global diplomatic consensus that a unilateral decision would break with international consensus and prejudge an issue that was supposed to be left to negotiations. While some political commentators claim that Trump began the process keeping campaign promise dear to evangelical Christians and right-wing Jewish voters, the unilateral move on part of the US government, in fact, further reinforces its half-a-century implicit support for Israeli occupation of the Palestinian land and subsequent violence.
It is commendable that the Bangladesh government has stood its ground against such short-sighted, imperial gesture of the US government and reaffirmed its position in favour of establishing the state of Palestine on the basis of the 1967 border with East Jerusalem as its capital. Citizens at large of the United States as well as of other western nations must mount pressure on US administration to retract such a decision that carries immeasurable risk of unleashing violence across the world.

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