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Jerusalem (Pixabay)

Only 31 percent of Americans back Jerusalem as Israeli capital

US President Donald Trump signed a declaration earlier this week officially announcing his intention to relocate the American embassy to Jerusalem from Tel Aviv. But his choice is not popular with Americans.

Published: December 9, 2017, 10:16 am

    “Today, we finally acknowledge the obvious: that Jerusalem is Israel’s capital. This is nothing more or less than a recognition of reality,” Trump said in a speech.

    The international community was almost unanimous in condemning his move. By moving the US Embassy to Jerusalem, many negative reactions have followed, as both Palestinians and Israelis claim Jerusalem as their capital.

    Trump may be alientaing his 50 million-strong evangelical voter base in the US too. Before his announcement, Trump’s team disseminated the “Jerusalem Prayer” in order to shore up support for the controversial decision, but the announcement to move the embassy does not have popular support across the US population as a whole. A Brookings Institution survey found recently that it has the backing of only 31 percent.

    Trump may also actually be hastening America irrelevance in the Middle East, as his decision means that no Arab or Muslim leader can be seen supporting it without risking street riots and major upheavals.

    Without victories, without being able to enforce political settlements, and thus without any hopes or enforceable policies to enhance peace, the American/Israeli axis, has no power to negotiate a favourable outcome in the region.

    Condemnations came not only from the Arab and Muslim Worlds, but also from the EU with the French President Macron and German Foreign Minister Frank Walter Steinmeier. Both voiced their shock and disappointment.

    All 28 EU foreign ministers warned the US chief diplomat Rex Tillerson against moving the US embassy in a face-to-face meeting the day before the president made the announcement, the European Commission revealed.

    EU foreign policy chief Federica Mogherini said the EU backed a two-state solution to the long-standing Palestine-Isreal conflict, with Jerusalem as the capital of both parties along 1967 lines.“That would be a gift to the extremists and to those that are not interested in peace,” she said.

    The announcement had “the potential to send us backwards to even darker times than the ones we are already living in”.

    The South African Council of Churches has described Trump’s announcement as a monumental geopolitical move that could trigger lasting repercussions. The council warned that this move would deepen the Israeli-Palastinian conflict with the US forfeiting its role as a peace broker.

    The council’ reverend Malusi Mpumulwana said, “We believe Jerusalem should be resolved as part of the resolution of the two states solution.”

    Russian officials and politicians described the move as extremely dangerous and warned of possible aggravation of the Middle East crisis. Foreign Minister Sergey Lavrov said on Thursday that Trump’s decision could destroy the very idea of a peaceful coexistence of the Israeli and Palestinian states.

    Ramzan Kadyrov, Chechen leader, has described the recognition of Jerusalem as the capital of Israel by the US president as a stab in the back for those who tried to reach a settlement in the Middle East, and a step towards a new war.

    Kadyrov said Trump’s decision was in violation of the resolutions passed by the United Nations and several international organisations. He added that the decision deprived Palestinians of the last chance to get an autonomous state.

    “How shall we understand the US president’s policy? It is simple – now we lost our last doubts about who had created this terrorist base on the territory of Iraq and Syria in order to establish their ‘new world order’,” he wrote on VKontakte, his Russian socila media page.

    “I can state with certainty that by this, to put it mildly, crude decision Trump throws the state of Israel into the abyss of bloody confrontation and puts in under threat of a new, more powerful and organized Intifada. Which means a large-scale war,” Kadyrov concluded.

    On Friday, Palestinian protesters and Israeli security forces clashed in Jerusalem and the West Bank amid heightened tensions. Violent riots broke out in about 30 locations across the West Bank and Gaza.

    A 30-year-old Palestinian was shot and killed during clashes in eastern Gaza, Palestinian Authority’s Ministry of Health said, with more than 300 people injured across the West Bank, Gaza and Jerusalem, 50 of whom needed hospital treatment.

    In Gaza, a 54-year-old Palestinian man died from injuries sustained during an Israeli airstrike, the official Palestinian news agency WAFA reported, quoting the Palestinian Ministry of Health. Fifteen people were injured, the news agency reported.

    The international community has not recognised Jerusalem as the capital of Israel and no foreign countries have based their embassies in the city.

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