US Recognizing Jerusalem as the Capital of Israel


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President Donald Trump delivers his statement regarding Jerusalem as Israel’s capital on December 6, 2017.

Emily Ito , Photojournalist

Jerusalem, one of the holiest cities in the world, has been the cause of much dispute for over 50 years. Yet US president, Donald Trump, intends on declaring Jerusalem the capital of Israel on December 13. In addition, he plans to relocate the US embassy there. This decision has been plagued with controversy and tension, marking it as a major world event.

The creation of the state of Israel following World War II, was a controversial move in itself and tension has been brewing between Israelis and Palestinians since the mid-20th century. While the United Nations has designated the city as a special international zone, the status of Jerusalem has continuously been disputed between Arabs and Israelis. Both states view the city as their political capitals and as a sacred religious site (CNN).

In an attempt to be the main mediator and maintain its role as a credible arbiter, the US has left the status of Jerusalem as an issue to be resolved and decided on by Palestinians and Israelis (The New York Times). Americans previously hoped that neutrality could help lead to a future peace deal between the arguing nations. Yet President Trump is straying from tradition by endorsing Jerusalem as Israel’s capital, creating much worry among American diplomats and enraging the Palestinian people. Trump made no illusion to Palestine’s claim to the eastern part of the city and the US President’s embracing of Jerusalem as the Israel capital is also considered to be breaking with the international consensus to leave the status of the city up to negotiations.

Further cementing Trump’s endorsement of the holy city as Israel’s capital is his decision to also move the US embassy from Tel Aviv to Jerusalem. Trump hopes to begin building an embassy that would be a “magnificent tribute to peace” (CNN). Trump insists the move is meant to “advance the peace process and work towards a lasting agreement” yet many fear that the move has caused and will continue to prompt conflict and issues. The relocation of the embassy could mean diplomatic crises with Arab states and protests outside US diplomatic offices in foreign countries.

Many Arab leaders, such as Palestinian President Mahmoud Abbas, are angered by this news. The Palestinian President and the head of Egypt’s coptic church have decided to skip meeting with Vice President Pence when he journeys to the Middle East before Christmas. Palestinian protests are being held, there have been at least four people killed by Israeli military in the Gaza Strip, and any peace that could have possibly been brokered looks increasingly impossible.

Trump involving himself in the situation and endorsement of Jerusalem as Israel’s capital has proven to be a controversial decision that tarnishes any peace between Israel and Palestine and may create issues for the US as well. This choice is grossly impacting the world and many hope that the US president will reconsider his decision. Jayden Hawley (10) commented on the situation stating,“I think that while embracing Israel’s claims to Jerusalem presents a few upsides, it also introduces avoidable issues for the US and is unfair to the Palestinian people.” Regardless of one’s view, it can be unanimously agreed that the acceptance is a huge decision that may have positive or negative consequences.