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End of the peace process?

The United States has no longer decided to deal with the Palestinian Authority (PA) as a diplomatic body, while Trump is threatening to cut all support for the United Nations Relief and Works Agency for Palestinian Refugees. Now the US embassy in Israel has moved from Tel Aviv to Jerusalem. Is the peace process over?


14. May 1948 Zionist leader David Ben Gurion presented the Israeli Declaration of Independence. Israel has subsequently occupied much of Palestine through occupation and annexation, and designated Jerusalem as the new capital. The United States has opposed the latter in the past, as they thought Jerusalem's future had to be on the negotiating table, while an Israeli annexation of Jerusalem would undermine the negotiations for a two-state solution.

However, the US attitude changed in 1995: Under Bill Clinton as president, Congress passed a law recognizing Jerusalem as the new capital and approving to move the United States Embassy from Tel Aviv to Jerusalem. After this law was passed, all incumbent US presidents have been regularly questioned about and when they intend to carry out the relocation process – all of whom have been hiding behind persistent postponements. Until now. President Donald Trump recognized Jerusalem as the new capital in December 2017, and intended to bring the law to fruition. Just over two decades after the decision, the US embassy in Israel has now moved to Jerusalem.

Under Bill Clinton as president, Congress passed a law recognizing Jerusalem as Israel's capital. 

Displacement and settlement. The decision violates several international resolutions passed by the UN General Assembly, the Security Council and the International Court of Justice, all of which maintain that Palestinian territory – including East Jerusalem – is legally regarded as occupied land.

The most important of these are: Security Council Resolution No. 478 of August 20, 1980, which does not recognize the Israeli annexation law and asks all member states to withdraw their diplomatic delegations from Jerusalem; Resolution 2253, passed by the UN General Assembly in 1967, requires the Occupying Power to repeal measures intended to change Jerusalem's status as a separate body – an international city; Security Council Resolution 298, dated 25.09.71, which emphasizes that all constitutional and legal decisions by Israel to influence the city's future prospects, including confiscation of land and relocation of population groups and legislation, cannot change the city's status. And not least: Security Council Resolution 2334 of 23.12.16, which clearly condemns Jewish settlements in occupied Palestinian territory, including East Jerusalem, and stresses that the settlements are illegal and requires the end of all settlement activities in occupied Palestinian territory, and that any change of borders from 1967 will not be accepted without the consent of both parties.

A declaration of war

Ny Tid has interviewed several Palestinian leaders, the response to the development is clearly negative. Ashraf Juma'a – Fatah MP (PLC) – says that his party has from the outset rejected the "Trump declaration" and believes it is incorrect and unfair to the Palestinians. "It means the end of the whole political process of a two-state solution, the end of the peace process. It takes a firm diplomatic hand and a popular national and Arab stance to get Trump to change his mind. " Juma'a has asked President Abbas to convene a National Council to formulate a strategy aimed at forcing Trump to change his mind. He wants to stop Palestinian security coordination with Israeli forces and impose a full boycott of Israeli products, adding that the United States is no longer an honest and impartial mediator in the peace process.

PHOTO: Heinrich Böll Foundation Palestine & Jordan

Hamas leader Maher Sabra quickly stated that Trump's decision has no real meaning on the ground. “Jerusalem is Palestinian and Arab – it is an unchanging fact that Hamas will never let go. The decision proves an American hit in Israel's favor. That Trump makes such a decision reveals that he faces problems that forced him to do so, to secure the support of Zionists in the United States so that he can retain power. ”Hamas does not recognize the state of Israel and believes Trump's play is irrelevant.

The deputy leader of the Islamic Holy War, Ziad Nakhala, told Ny Tid that they regard President Donald Trump's decision as a declaration of war.

A new Balfour statement?

Khaled Abu Arafa, PA's former minister of affairs related to Jerusalem, tells Ny Tid that this is part of an occupation policy that has been going on for 70 years. The goal is to empty the holy city of Arab Muslims and Christians. “But Jerusalem is also the Palestinian, it is a holy city with a long history. The Israeli annexation of Palestinian land began in earnest in 1995, following the Oslo Accords. The construction of settlements and the demolition of Palestinian houses have spread and are progressing at an ever-increasing pace. "

"Jerusalem is Palestinian and Arab – it is an unchanging fact that Hamas will never let go."
Maher Sabra, leader of Hamas

Political analyst and writer Dawood Kuttab says he sees East Jerusalem being neglected – and that the Israelis are refusing the Palestinian authorities to do something about it. “Trump has – inadvertently – given new hope to the hopes of East Jerusalem residents that there are Arab, Islamic and Christian forces and peace advocates who are seriously interested in the future of Jerusalem. Instead of empty announcements and accusations, we are now seeing concrete plans to support East Jerusalem and those living there. ”

Amal Syam, head of the Palestine Women's Affairs Center (WAC), believes the "Trump Declaration" challenges and provokes feelings in the Arab and Islamic parts of the world. As Palestinians, she feels a responsibility to defend and free Jerusalem from the occupation. The city has become a strong and emotional symbol, and Syam considers Trump's decision a new Balfour statement. "When the British government presented the Balfour Declaration in 1917, they promised the Jews that they would establish their own homeland in Palestine. And now Trump is giving the Jews Jerusalem the capital. Both Balfour and Trump are donors of something that is not theirs, to someone who is not the right owner of it. "

American escalation in the Middle East

Bassam Abu Sharif – a member of the Palestinian National Council (PNC) and former Special Adviser to the late President Yasser Arafat – expects the United States to attack Iran and its supporters in Arab countries such as Lebanon and Syria, turning the world's attention away from the crimes committed against Palestinians in Jerusalem. "Similar to what happened in the Syrian city of Deir ez-Zor, where the United States carried out many bombings against the city and killed dozens of civilians – under the cover of a coalition, with the pretext of fighting terrorism."

Bassam Abu Sharif expects the US to attack Iran and its supporters in Arab countries such as Lebanon and Syria. 

Abu Sharif warns against the attacks, which in his opinion trigger a development that no one knows the range of. He describes the decision as a clear extension of the essence of the plan called the Century Agreement. It aims to liquidate the Palestinian cause, contrary to all international resolutions and historical and religious constitutions.

New Palestinian intifada?

The decision to move the embassy was followed by several punitive measures against the Palestinian Authority, which in turn turned to the UN in December 2017. The most serious sanctions were that the US government cut all financial support for PA and will no longer want to deal with them. as an official diplomatic body for the Palestinians. US financial aid to the UN Relief and Works Agency for Palestinian Refugees (UNWRA) will also be cut. It currently amounts to $ 1 billion a year.

Some questions remain: Is there a new intifada in Palestinian territories, or a new war in which thousands of Palestinians are killed? And should there be a war, will it be limited to Palestinian soil, or will it include other countries and regions, such as Lebanon and Iran?

Hamada Hamada Fajer
Hamada Hamada Fajer
Hamada is a freelancer for New Time from Gaza.

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