In a major policy shift US President Donald Trump has decided to recognize the Jerusalem as capital of Israel and has directed the official to move the US embassy from Tel Aviv to Jerusalem which in his opinion the previous Presidents had promised but did not deliver. The President said “I’ve judged this course of action to be in the best interests of the United States of America and the pursuit of peace between Israel and the Palestinians. This is a long-overdue step to advance the peace process and to work towards a lasting agreement. Israel is a sovereign nation with the right like every other sovereign nation to determine its own capital. Acknowledging this as a fact is a necessary condition for achieving peace. It was 70 years ago that the United States, under President Truman, recognized the State of Israel. Ever since then, Israel has made its capital in the city of Jerusalem — the capital the Jewish people established in ancient times.”
This move has sparked the global reaction and Saudi Arabia the staunchest ally to USA has condemned it. Even the UNO has treated it as a matter of grave concern. UN Secretary General Guterres has called it as a time of great anxiety. He also emphasized that two nation state concept is the only way to solve the problem in the region. UK PM who recently had some tense relations with Donald Trump on the issue of terrorism has called East Jerusalem as part of the Occupied Palestinian Territories. Her statement suggests that UK is not in tune with USA on this issue. The Prime Minster Theresa May said: ‘We disagree with the US decision to move its embassy to Jerusalem and recognize Jerusalem as the Israeli capital before a final status agreement. We believe it is unhelpful in terms of prospects for peace in the region. The British Embassy to Israel is based in Tel Aviv and we have no plans to move it.’
UK has traditional friendship with USA and in two other occasions in Middle East-invasion in Iraq and removal from power seat of Col. Gaddafi in Libya, UK had stood with USA without any weakness but this time it has expressed its departure from the previous policies.
Countries like India have remained consistent supporter to the Palestinian cause but in the recent time relations with Israel have been upgraded. India is now close friend of Israel but has not diluted its commitment to support to Palestinian cause. It has committed at political level itself to return of situation to pre 1967 status when Israel occupied much of the area in six Day War which included Golan Heights, Gaza Strip, Sinai Peninsula, West Bank, and Old City of Jerusalem.
In response to queries regarding India’s position on recognition of Jerusalem as capital of Israel by the US, the Official Spokesperson said:”India’s position on Palestine is independent and consistent. It is shaped by our views and interests, and not determined by any third country.” (MEA)
President Trump has strong base in the US Jews lobby which is an important player in the political relationship system between US and Israel. Such a move inside Republican Party has been welcomed by this constituency. Trump is aware that he has unleashed a lethal force in the form of diplomatic decision and its repercussions may not be without troubles. Anticipating such a development he has therefore stated that ‘so today, we call for calm, for moderation, and for the voices of tolerance to prevail over the purveyors of hate.’ He also stated that ‘Jerusalem is today, and must remain, a place where Jews pray at the Western Wall, where Christians walk the Stations of the Cross, and where Muslims worship at Al-Aqsa Mosque.(and) to maintain the status quo at Jerusalem’s holy sites, including the Temple Mount, also known as Haram al-Sharif to maintain the status quo at Jerusalem’s holy sites, including the Temple Mount, also known as Haram al-Sharif’ but major issue is- how much US support the real establishment of peace in the region? As the establishment of two states can be fashioned by US if it influences Israel in diplomatic terms.
The US policy shift has caused a quake in the region though US has said that United States would support a two-state solution if agreed to by both sides. This is a problem zone as it will be much difficult to make convince both parties to reach a deal on the Two State solution; hence US should exercise its diplomatic power to realize this dream for Palestinians.
As the days pass the real impact of the decision will be seen but a diplomatic turmoil has started in the international politics. The national interests will determine the extent of impact of this particular move on the global politics and bilateral relations and in regional milieu.
Dr. Vivek Kumar Srivastava,Vice Chairman,CSSP, Kanpur; e mail: firstname.lastname@example.org