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US Israel embassy relocation raises alarm

Dec 06,2017 - Last updated at Dec 06,2017

Successive reports from Washington suggesting that the US is, once again, considering relocating the US embassy in Israel from Tel Aviv to Jerusalem, are causing alarm all over the Arab world. 

Various Palestinian entities, as well as many Arab capitals are calling on Washington to refrain from taking an unnecessary step that could further inflame a region already suffering from perpetual instability and crises.

His Majesty King Abdullah has been relentless in advising against such a dangerous step and, indeed, any other step that may lead to serious reaction. The stability of the entire region, not just that of Jordan, always tops his list of priorities. 

If similar warnings were sufficient to convince the Trump administration to delay such a move just as the President took up office earlier this year, this time, the warnings are uncertain to be heeded.

By the time this article is printed, we will know the outcome of the US president’s final decision on this very incendiary issue.

Previously, the main bone of contention was about the relocation of the US embassy from Tel Aviv to Jerusalem, even if it was to West Jerusalem which has been practically considered as part of the Israel that the Palestinian Liberation Organisation (PLO) and Arab states declared their intention to make peace with, should Israel end its occupation of the Arab territories occupied by the Israeli army in June 1967 (Security Council Resolution 242). 

Nevertheless the relocation of the American embassy, or any other embassy, is seen as a symbolic recognition of Jerusalem, all of Jerusalem, as Israel’s capital. 

Currently, the talk is not just about relocation or the symbolism it may involve. Rather it is about an explicit American recognition of Jerusalem as Israel’s capital, whereby the transfer of the embassy would be the next logical step to take in consolidating this view. 

But this is not a novel approach; this same decision was taken by the US Congress 22 years ago.  The reason for the delayed implementation is that successive US presidents used their authority to postpone the execution of the controversial move out of concern for its inappropriate legal as well as practical implications. The appraisal of the current administration may not be in favour of maintaining the same cautious approach, hence the serious fear of violent repercussions.

According to the US Congress “JERUSALEM PUBLIC ACT OF 1995, Public law 104-45, 104th Congress” decided:

“SEC. 3. TIMETABLE —

“(a) Statement of the Policy of the United States.

(1) Jerusalem should remain an undivided city in which the rights of every ethnic and religious group are protected;

(2) Jerusalem should be recognised as the capital of the State of Israel; and

(3) the United States Embassy in Israel should be established in Jerusalem no later than May 31, 1999.”

This Congress ruling violates international law, and contradicts the very provisions of many Security Council resolutions approved by the US; resolutions that oppose Israeli measures in East Jerusalem, specifically Israel’s decision to annex the Arab part of the city when it was occupied in 1967, and declare united Jerusalem as Israel’s capital. This decision by the Congress which clearly condones aggression, has been a major factor in thwarting continued efforts, US efforts included, for reaching a peaceful settlement of the Arab Israeli conflict. 

There is no question that Israel has all long been encouraged by constant US support to maintain its extremist policies, to continue with its colonisation schemes on the occupied Arab territories, to defy international law and to block any project for ending the conflict even on the best terms for Israel. 

The failure in resolving the Arab Israeli issue is largely recognised as a major cause of continuing instability, all aspects and manifestations of conflict and radicalised terror, in the Middle East for the last seven decades. 

Precarious as the situation in the region is now, any additional aggravation is likely to further enflame the region. This would have far-reaching consequences for everyone.

The catastrophic consequences of previous blunders in Iraq, Afghanistan, Syria, Yemen and Libya are still being witnessed to this day. Similarly, the explosive situation in Gaza is glaringly evident and for decades we have been witnessing how, time and again, Israel has blocked US efforts to settle the conflict even when accommodating each and every one of its demands. 

Despite diminishing hope, many still look forward to finding out what promise the Trump "ultimate deal” may have to offer. If it fails again, one should look for the cause on Israel’s side. Customarily and in every case, Israel continues to magnify its demands until they become prohibitive. 

If the Trump administration decides to recognise Jerusalem as Israel’s capital, whether by moving the embassy or not, the ultimate deal would be dead and buried and this would save Israel the trouble of killing it off itself, as it has done countless times to dozens of similar previous attempts. 

It is possible that the factors that prompted US presidents since 1995 to delay the implementation of the said Congress decision on Jerusalem on six-monthly consecutive intervals are not adequately convincing for the current administration. It is also possible that some Arab states openings towards Israel and the current trends to forge alliances with Israel against Iran — though farfetched — would deceive concerned decision makers into believing that the time is right to grant Israel such an undue and illegal reward. This would be another disastrous miscalculation which would plunge the region into further chaos and delay any hope of regaining some stability by decades. It will also embolden Israel’s intransigence. 

 

The striking reality, however, is that although the US has been openly on Israel’s side, the Palestinians as well as the Arabs, continue to pin their hopes on Washington’s goodwill. Additionally, and because not one single Arab state can afford to antagonise the US even when siding with Israel against Arab rights and against international law, Washington may tend to regularly lean on the Arab side without concern for consequences, which may not be a sound long-term approach. Because Arab-American relations are important for both sides, they should be better handled and keenly protected.

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Comments

The important issue is not transferring American Embassy to Jerusalem but recognizing Jerusalem as the capital of Israel which is condemned internationally because it is not based on international law, UN resolutions and legitimacy.

PROFESSOR Dr K, I AM SURE THAT AS AN EDUCATED MAN, YOU SHOULD KNOW THAT YOU HAVE NO LEADERS SO YOUR QUESTION HAS NO INSTRUMENT TO TEST YOUR WISHFUL THINKING. THIS IS DAY-DREAMING.##############################################

The important issue is what the Arab leaders are going to do on the ground against
Trump's recognition of Jerusalem as the capital of Israel?

We don't want another Lebanon barracks fiasco at the helm of our efforts to forge genuine relationships in the region. A better strategy would be to keep Israel's new capital idea, but somewhere more indigenously rooted and away from sensitive inter-religious sites, localities, and municipalities. Keeping Jerusalem a freelance inter-faith sanctum for practicing Jews, Muslims, and Christians is tantamount to forging secure peace efforts across all religious spectrums and demographics. However, pushing aside Muslims and Christians for a secular pseudo-facist Zionist entity based on ethnic cleansing, Jim Crow legislation, and zionism terror and mass death and casualty humiliation campaigns will be counter-productive to stabilizing and securing a legitimate and safe Israel for tommorrow.

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