EAST JERUSALEM

East Jerusalem, the Arab part, is considered occupied territory by the UN and many world governments. It is puzzling to observers how the recognition of Jerusalem enhances the Middle East peace process.

On the contrary, it emboldens right-wing elements in President Netanyahu’s coalition government to expand Israeli settlements in the occupied territories like East Jerusalem. It also disincentives Israel from negotiating with the Palestinians for a two-state solution.

As a historical city, Jerusalem is the birthplace of three religions Islam, Judaism and Christianity.

The decision only plays into the hands of right-wing elements in the Likud-led coalition in Israel. While Mr Trump could have his eye on strengthening his base and expanding his allies in the American Jewish community in America in the run-up to the 2020 presidential election, this move could backfire because of his proclivity to abruptly shift positions on major topical issues.

Mr Trump’s position will be used by radical Islamist groups to increase their support base among the Arab population.

BLACK EYE

December 6 is a day American diplomacy received a black eye in the Middle East. It will go a long way in undermining US interests in the Middle East.

It also puts US allies like Kenya in a precarious position. Palestinians are quoted on Al Jazeera as calling for “Days of Rage” over the US Jerusalem plan.

This will likely lead to yet another intifada and wider regional unrest.

I wish he had read another American president’s thoughts on foreign policy.

Thomas Jefferson’s thinking is epitomised in this quote: “A spirit of justice and friendly accommodation is our duty and our interest to cultivate with all nations”.

The spirit of justice and friendly accommodation between Jews and Arabs has been dealt a massive blow today.

Dr Monda teaches in the Political Science Department, City University of New York.[email protected]

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