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在线翻译:
szdaily -> Opinion
Jerusalem move costly and dangerous
    2017-December-18  08:53    Shenzhen Daily

Winton Dong

dht0620@126.com

U.S. President Donald Trump announced Dec. 6 that his government recognizes Jerusalem as the capital of Israel and would later move the U.S. embassy from Tel Aviv to the contested city. At present, no country has its Israeli embassy in Jerusalem.

U.S. Congress passed the Jerusalem Embassy Act in 1995 during the tenure of President Bill Clinton, requiring the relocation of the embassy meanwhile giving presidents the power to delay with a waiver every six months. Since then, all former presidents have signed the waiver, believing that the city’s fate should be decided by peaceful negotiations between Israel and Palestine. According to U.S. officials, Trump will also sign the waiver until preparations for the embassy relocation are complete.

The unsettled status of Jerusalem is at the core of the Israeli-Palestinian conflict. Palestine wants to make East Jerusalem, occupied by Israel in 1967, its capital, while Israel insists the integral city of Jerusalem as its capital.

Trump’s move will further worsen regional tensions in the Middle East and he has received warnings from all over the world about the dire consequences, with even close allies suggesting he has needlessly stirred more conflict in an already volatile region. The United States surely knows the serious outcome of such a move and insists on doing so. In my point of view, there are several reasons behind President Trump’s intention.

Firstly, the recognition can be used by him as a tool to wag the tail of public attention at home away from the investigation which has now trapped his former security adviser Michael Flynn. Flynn has pleaded guilty to charges that he lied to the FBI about contacts with Russia.

Secondly, it is aimed to cater to the demands of his supporters and important assistants of Jewish origin including his son-in-law Jared Kushner, Secretary of the Treasury Steven Mnuchin, and other high-ranking officials. It will surely be used to please his allied country Israel.

Thirdly, Trump has been met with a lot of frustration since taking power in January this year, yet remains eager to achieve something big this time. Meanwhile, he wants to keep his promise. During the presidential campaign last year, he vowed to move the U.S. embassy in Israel.

The U.S. move is both costly and dangerous. The issue of Jerusalem’s status is sensitive and complicated. The best way to handle the issue is to keep tranquility in the city. The reckless action will not only undermine the long-term basis for solving the Palestinian issue but also trigger new confrontation in the region. For many years, the United States has been serving as a peaceful mediator between Palestine and Israel. However, Trump’s decision will undermine the U.S. standing and hurt its international image.

After the U.S. announcement, Palestinian protesters in Bethlehem, the West Bank and the southern border of the Gaza Strip have been clashing with Israeli troops, hurling stones at Israeli soldiers who responded with tear gas and rubber bullets. According to media report, Jerusalem’s Old City, home to the holy sites of Jews, Muslims and Christians, will be the focal point of demonstrations.

Palestine’s chief representative in Britain Manuel Hassassian said that Trump would effectively be making a declaration of war if he recognizes Jerusalem as Israel’s capital. “He is declaring war in the Middle East, he is declaring war against 1.5 billion Muslims and hundreds of millions of Christians that are not going to accept the holy shrines to be totally under the control of Israel,” he said.

Arab foreign ministers held an urgent meeting on Dec. 10, where they demanded that the United States rescind President Trump’s decision, calling it a grave action that puts Washington on the same side as “occupation” and the violation of international law. In a resolution, the ministers also called for the U.N. Security Council to adopt a resolution condemning Trump’s decision.

China also expressed concern about the issue. Foreign Minister spokesman Geng Shuang urged all parties to commit to solving differences by negotiation and promotion of regional peace and stability according to the U.N. resolutions.

(The author is the editor-in-chief of the Shenzhen Daily with a Ph.D. from the Journalism and Communication School of Wuhan University.)

 

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