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Trump's embassy move is a gift to extremists Open in fullscreen

Mohammed Arafat

Trump's embassy move is a gift to extremists

There have been repeated calls advising against Trump's decision to move the embassy [Arafat]

Date of publication: 26 January, 2017

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Trump's decision to relocate the US embassy to Jerusalem has terrifying connotations not just to the Palestinian-Israeli peace process, but to the Arab world at large writes Mohammed Arafat
Days into Trump’s inauguration, millions of Palestinians and Israelis are waiting for a decision that could destroy all hopes of any upcoming peace resolution. Comments made during his campaign which promised Israel to relocate the American embassy to Jerusalem from Tel Aviv are causing tensions.
 
The decision to move the American embassy from Tel Aviv to Jerusalem is a big one. Palestinians consider Jerusalem as their capital, and Israelis have been attempting to shift their capital to Jerusalem too, claiming Solomon’s temple under the al-Aqsa mosque.
 
Trump's step will overturn the international agreements including the 1947's UN partition plan that considered Jerusalem an international city, the western part under the Israeli authority and the eastern under the Jordanian authority after the war of 1948. After the 1967 war, the old city fell to full Israeli control.
 
Trump's inauguration sent Palestinians a clear message that the threat of moving the embassy is real, appearing on Israeli media saying that he is, "not a person who breaks promises." Trump's promise is a destructive one for Palestinians, who consider themselves victims of any new American administration, while a gift for Israel. Many Israelis, even the right-winged, never consider moving the embassy to Jerusalem a priority for them.
 
Considering it an Islamic capital for the entire of the Islamic and Arab world, Muslims and Arabs all over the world oppose this step, it will not only ignite a new Palestinian-Israeli conflict, but one between Israel and the Arab world.

Speaking during his sermon at the al-Aqsa mosque in the old city, the Palestinian Authority’s Sheikh Muhammed Hussien, said that moving the American embassy from Tel Aviv to Jerusalem is not only an assault against Palestinians, but also an assault against Arabs and Muslims who would not stay silent. 
Moving the embassy to Jerusalem would be a red line for Jordan, inflame the Arab and Islamic streets, and serve as a gift for extremists
Palestinian President, Mahmoud Abbas, during his visit to the Vatican to open the Palestinian embassy in the city, warned that moving the embassy to Jerusalem would not help the peace process between Palestinians and Israelis. The President added that if the embassy is relocated to Jerusalem, the Middle East will enter a crisis no one would be able to overcome; adding that anything would disrupt Jerusalem is, "a red line that we will not accept."
 
Abbas' warning against Trump's decision also comes days after Sultan Abu al-Einein, a Fatah Central Committee member, had said that this step would set a new violent uprising between Israelis and Palestinians.
 
"Any American act of stupidity would ignite the Palestinian lands." Abu al-Einein added.
 
Palestinian international diplomats have added to the warnings. Senior PLO official, Saeb Erekat, threatened that if the US moves its embassy to the Old City, Palestinians will no longer recognize Israel as a state, pointing out again that the Israeli government is igniting war against Arabs and Muslims all round the world.
 
Meanwhile, hundreds of Palestinians poured out in streets of the occupied West Bank against the decision waving Palestinian flags, calling Donald Trump not to go on with his decision. The protesters held signs saying that relocating the US embassy is a new Balfour promise for the Palestinian people.
 
"We will not give up on our capital," demonstrators shouted.
Jordan, as an ally to the US, has warned against this decision. In his interview with AP, the Jordanian minister of information, Mohammed Momani, said that this step could affect the relations between America and regional allies, including Jordan.
 
"Moving the embassy to Jerusalem would be a red line for Jordan, inflame the Arab and Islamic streets, and serve as a gift for extremists," Momani said.
 
Former American President, Barack Obama, was also one of those opposing the move, adding that if the American embassy moved to Jerusalem, it would be explosive. He suggested that the step would end the two-state resolution between Palestinians and Israelis.
 
Longtime Israeli columnist and co-author, Akiva Eldar, added that no serious person, or even the secret service, would accept the relocation with the situation being “so fragile” currently.

In a move that appears to attempt to sooth the Arabs, Walid Phares, Arab advisor to the new American President, said that the President’s decision is a complex one, and would take a long time to implement. Phares added that Trump is concerned and seeks to achieve peace between Palestinians and Israelis.  

Mohammed Arafat holds a bachelor degree in Teaching English as a Foreign Language and is preparing for a Masters in Peace and Conflict Studies. Author of Still Living There, a book documenting Gaza's last war and its aftermath. You can read more of his poetry on his blog here. 

Opinions expressed in this article remain those of the author, and do not necessarily represent those of The New Arab, its editorial board or staff.

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