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A sober stock of Trump decisions

Dec 16,2017 - Last updated at Dec 16,2017

When all is said and done on President Donald Trump’s decisions to recognise Jerusalem as the capital of Israel and declare his intention to relocate his country’s embassy from Tel Aviv to Jerusalem, it is time to take sober stock of  Trump’s decisions and the Arab reaction to them. 

Nearly two weeks after these decisions were taken, the dust has finally settled down a bit to allow for a cool minded appraisal of all issues related to the highly provocative decisions and their fallout. 

For starters, the fate of Jerusalem does not depend on what the US decides whether pro or con any particular status for the holy city. The US is only a country albeit a major one, among nearly 200 other states, whose president decided on his own and most likely without consultations with his key advisers to bestow on Jerusalem the title of the capital of Israel. 

Neither Trump nor the US Congress has the jurisdiction to take stances on the status of any country’s capital that is patently contrary to international law and UN resolutions. 

This alone makes Trump’s verdict on Jerusalem ultra vires. Against this backdrop, the Arab reaction is a bit overdone as it tends to lend credence to Trump’s bizarre decisions and accord them more importance than they deserve.  So, why all the fuss and fury over decisions that are patently devoid of any legitimacy and import? Israel has occupied territories beyond the 1947 partition lines since 1947, yet so many states including the US, Russia and all Western, Latin American, Asian and African countries rushed to recognise Israel on lands that do not belong to it under international norms and UN resolutions. 

In 1967 Israel continued its policy of expansion and aggrandisement  by occupying all the West  Bank including  East Jerusalem. In retrospect, Arab and Muslim reactions were muted! As important as Jerusalem is, the recognition of Israel in the first place  is even worse from Arab, Muslim and international perspectives. The Arab world needs to be more precise, focused and coherent about what it wants or objects to. 

The Arab countries joined by the other members of the international community have called for the creation of a Palestinian state in the West Bank with East Jerusalem as its capital. It is therefore East Jerusalem and its fate that concerns and troubles, and rightly so, the Arab world and the rest of the international community. Logic and common sense would dictate that the Arab anger and reaction should be directed therefore to ”East Jerusalem“ and not “Jerusalem”. That would be the logical message that the Arabs, Muslims and other like-minded countries should deliver to the US. Besides, Trump’s term of office ends in three years and there is no chance whatsoever he could be reelected. 


The odds are heavily against Trump winning another term at the White House. It is going to take nearly that long to construct the new US embassy. By then, the next president will surely reverse the policy of Trump on Jerusalem and restore status quo till the parties agree on a package deal that includes the status of the entire Jerusalem or half of it!  

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