No issue in the Middle East has been as contentious as the status of Jerusalem, a city that both Israelis and Palestinians claim as their capital.
In 1980, the State of Israel declared the city as its capital. And the Palestinians designated East Jerusalem as the capital of their State.
Although no power recognizes any of these claims, here is the root of the growing tensions between Israelis and Palestinians.
And these tensions are now at risk of exploding, with reports that US President Donald Trump will recognize Jerusalem as the capital of Israel.
“Any decision on the status of the disputed city should be made within the framework of negotiations between Israelis and Palestinians,” said French President Emmanuel Macron, and said he was “concerned” about the possibility of President Donald Trump making that decision. .
France was not the only one who expressed fears. Saudi Arabia declared that such a measure “would have a harmful impact on the peace process.”
Jordan warned of “serious consequences” and the head of the Arab League, Abul Gheit, said that this decision “would nurture fanaticism and violence.” Turkey assured that this would be “a huge catastrophe”.
The Balfour Declaration: the 67 words that 100 years ago changed the history of the Middle East and led to the creation of the State of Israel.
Transfer or recognition
Trump is responsible for signing a measure to postpone the transfer of the Israeli embassy from Tel Aviv to Jerusalem, something that has been done every six months by all his predecessors in the White House since 1995 when the US Congress passed a law in favor of that Relocation
However, the American press anticipates that the tycoon intends, instead, to announce the recognition of Jerusalem as the capital of Israel.
Although during his electoral campaign Donald Trump was favorable to that move, his execution would place the US contrary to the decisions of the UN on this matter and in open contradiction with the rest of Western powers.
But why is the Jerusalem issue so controversial?
A “separate entity”
Being considered a sacred city by the faithful of the three great monotheistic religions – Jews, Christians and Muslims – paradoxically made Jerusalem the object of numerous disputes that, over the centuries, led to repeated conquests and reconquests.
When in 1947 the UN General Assembly adopted resolution 181 for the partition of Palestine into a Jewish and an Arab state, it was thought that Jerusalem would be considered a “separate entity”, an international city that would be administered for ten years by the UN before carrying out a referendum to define its destiny.
The document also provided for the protection, free access and freedom of worship in the sacred places of the city, not only for its inhabitants but even for foreigners without discrimination on grounds of nationality.
Although during his electoral campaign President Donald Trump was all in favor to that move, his current decision is going to place America in open contradiction with the rest of Western powers.