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Thursday, May 24, 2018

Columns

An embassy in Jerusalem strikes fear in Palestinian identity


 

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The Trump Administration’s official announcement of the U.S. recognition of Jerusalem as the capital of the state of Israel, as well as the plan to move the U.S. Embassy, sparked outrage and incited protest worldwide.

It is disgraceful to see how the Palestinian voices have been suppressed, convenient for the many different groups who hijack the Palestinian narrative and contort the issue into one of Muslim hatred of Jews.

The Palestinian population is already treated as second class citizens, but this acknowledgement alludes to the American stance on this dehumanization. It also exacerbates tensions in the perpetually volatile environment in Jerusalem and surrounding territories.

Jerusalem is a city rich with history that is cherished by millions the world over, including followers of Judaism, Christianity, and Islam alike. It has been coveted throughout antiquity by great empires, seeing the rise and fall of many civilizations as they fought for power and ownership over the city.

This fight has continued into modern history and has become one of the most sensitive and complex diplomatic issues.

Although President Donald Trump signed a waiver to delay the embassy move by six months as his predecessors have done, the eventual move would allow the Israeli government to increase restrictions that work to systematically reduce the number of Palestinian inhabitants in Jerusalem.

Said restrictions include refusal of Israeli authorities to grant building permits, forbidding Palestinians from doing house repairs without special permission, and imposing higher taxes on Palestinian business owners. 

Trump’s bold proclamation, made in part to satisfy his evangelical supporters, does not only concern Palestinian Muslims.

Unfortunately, much of the discourse surrounding Jerusalem has excluded the plight of Palestinian Christians, who are also subjected to the de facto apartheid conditions under Israeli military control. 

The pledge to move the embassy is also the final nail in the coffin of the fruitless “peace talks,” which have not yielded any substantial results over the last quarter century of their existence.

Trump’s son-in-law, Jared Kushner, who also has no political experience, was appointed to broker peace talks prior to the decision to move the embassy. It is almost comical to think that Kushner would be successful in this endeavor when many veteran politicians and diplomats have been unable to mediate a long-term agreement.

All the peace talks have done is stall any true work towards peace, only allowing for the expansion of more illegal Israeli settlements.

Not only is this move a threat to brokering peace, it also destroys the possibility of a two-state solution. Many leaders in the Middle East and around the world cautioned against Trump’s decision, warning that the status of Jerusalem is too sensitive to be so abruptly shifted.

The overwhelming opposition to this move was clearly shown during the UN General Assembly vote against the decision.

Since the announcement, the situation has only grown more unstable with the unfolding of recent events in which the Palestinian Central Council met to discuss the move. They will no longer consider the United States as a mediator of peace talks, and the United States has responded by cutting millions of dollars in aid to the UNRWA, which works to support Palestinian refugees.

There has never been a clear path to resolution, and without justice, there will never be peace.

Sarah Tawashy is a human nutrition and foods sophomore and can be reached at [email protected]

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