Donald Trump’s unilateral move to back Israel’s claim to holy city has reunited competing factions across the Middle East to a common cause.
“Previous American presidents never touched on the subject of Jerusalem because they knew it goes beyond the Israeli Palestinian conflict. It involves Muslims worldwide. Unfortunately Trump doesn’t have a historical or political background. If his intention is to solve the Palestinian conflict he chose the wrong door. Jerusalem is not a political symbol but will forever be a religious one.”
The Trump administration’s recognition of Jerusalem as Israel’s capital has drawn widespread condemnation across the Arab world, with political leaders, commentators and locals labelling the move as provocative and a threat to global security.
The decision has been cast as the final nail in the coffin of a two-state solution to the Israel/Palestine conflict – an approach broadly recognised by Arab states – and the end of meaningful US diplomacy between both sides after almost 70 years.
It has also allowed competing factions across the Middle East to refocus on a common cause that had drifted from the spotlight over the past five years, eclipsed by regional power plays, war and insurrection.
Leaders in Turkey and Lebanon warned of dangerous instability in the wake of the announcement, which overtly sides Washington with Israel at a time when the US had been attempting to table a new peace initiative between Jerusalem and Ramallah.
The future of Jerusalem had been central to all previous peace pushes and commentators and residents were united in their belief that negotiations could not begin if the Palestinians’ claim to the holy city was no longer on the table.
Jordan’s King Abdullah said: “There is no alternative to a two-state solution, and Jerusalem is key to any peace agreement. It is imperative to work fast to reach a final status solution and a peace agreement. Ignoring Palestinian Muslim and Christian rights in the holy city could fuel terrorism.”