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HOME  > Past issues  > 2018 May 16 - 22  > US embassy relocation to Jerusalem will undermine efforts for peace in Middle East
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2018 May 16 - 22 TOP3 [WORLD]
editorial 

US embassy relocation to Jerusalem will undermine efforts for peace in Middle East

May 16, 2018

Akahata editorial

The U.S. Trump administration on May 14 moved the U.S. embassy in Israel from Tel Aviv to Jerusalem. President Trump in his video speech for the opening ceremony (of the new embassy stated, “Today, we follow through on our recognition of Jerusalem as the capital of Israel) and open our embassy in the historic and sacred land of Jerusalem.” However, most European countries, despite being invited, were not present at the ceremony. By not attending the event, these countries expressed their critical stance toward the recognition of the entire city of Jerusalem, including East Jerusalem which was forcibly taken by Israel, as the nation’s capital on the grounds that such a recognition is tantamount to approving Israeli territorial expansion by force. It is a matter of course that the moving of the embassy sparked fierce protests in the self-governing Palestinian territories.

Clear violation of UNSC resolution

The statement issued by the U.S. Department of State on the occasion of the inauguration of the new embassy in Jerusalem proclaims, “We remain committed to advancing a lasting and comprehensive peace between Israel and the Palestinians.” However, the acknowledging of Jerusalem as the Israeli capital and the relocation of the embassy to the city totally ignores the position of Palestinians who see East Jerusalem as their future capital. These policies are inconsistent with the conventional U.S. policy position which states that the status of Jerusalem should be determined based on peace negotiations between Israeli and Palestinians.

Israel occupied East Jerusalem in the third Middle East War in 1967. In 1980, Israel enacted its basic law on Jerusalem which designates a unified Jerusalem, including East Jerusalem, as the country’s capital. In response, the UN Security Council adopted a resolution pointing out that the enactment of the basic law violates international law and that the law is null and void and must be rescinded forthwith.

The United States in 1995 passed a law requiring the U.S. embassy in Israel to be relocated to Jerusalem. However, expecting possible strong opposition from inside and outside the U.S., successive presidents—Clinton, G. W. Bush, and Obama—issued executive orders to postpone the relocation.

The question is why is it that the Trump administration moved its embassy at this time. Among U.S. conservatives, there exist evangelical Christians who possess enormous clout and insists, "Jerusalem is the holy city belonging to Jews." They are strong supporters of Trump. With midterm elections taking place in November in which one third of the Senate seats and all the seats in the House of Representatives will be contested, President Trump went ahead with the "relocation of the embassy" as he pledged in the election campaign with a view to securing electoral support from these conservatives.

This relocation, which even reversed successive U.S. administrations' traditional stance, not only lacks reasonable grounds but also jeopardizes the prospects for peace in the Middle East.

May 14 marks the 70th anniversary of Israel's founding in 1948. On such a symbolic occasion, the move of the U.S. embassy to Jerusalem took place. On the other hand, for Palestinians, May 15 is "Nakba (catastrophe) Day", the day to commemorate the 1948 catastrophe when more than 700,000 Palestinians were displaced from their homes by Israel. The Trump regime keeps siding with Israel, which will most likely undermine peace efforts the United Nations and most of the rest of the world have been making.

Stop repressing Palestinians

Israeli forces fired indiscriminately at Palestinian demonstrators protesting against the U.S. embassy's relocation, killing dozens of people including children.

Israel should immediately stop attacking and killing Palestinians. It should also stop building settlements and end its occupation in the Palestinian Territories.

The international community must now make efforts to fairly tackle the problems in the Middle East based on the principles of the right to national self-determination, including the establishment of a Palestinian independent state, and of mutual recognition of the right to exist between the two parties.

Past related articles:
> 1 year anniv. of Trump regime, Abe devoted to follow Trump [January 19, 2018]
> JCP Yamashita responds to Jordan's request for help on issue of US recognition of Jerusalem as Israeli capital [January 7 & 8, 2018]
> Shii: US Trump administration should withdraw its decision to recognize Jerusalem as Israel’s capital [December 7, 2017]
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