Region

Trump’s Jerusalem decision risks Middle-East conflict escalation

Donald Trump made a whimsical declaration on Wednesday by recognising Jerusalem as the capital of Israel also hinting towards US embassy’s relocation from Tel Aviv to Jerusalem. It is a well-known fact Jerusalem is not only at the core of Palestine Israel conflict, but is also close to the hearts of millions of Muslims around the world; with the Old City of Jerusalem home to some of the holiest sites of Judaism, Christianity and Islam. Also, five major wars in the Arab world, which included Israel, have taken place over the city and Palestine, resulting in countless casualties.

Even though for many years, the Arab states maintained strong support for the Palestine cause, however, with developments in Israel, changes in the regional situation and contradictions within religious sects, the Arab world has become divided and reluctant to take real actions. On the other hand, thee marginalisation of Palestine issue in global politics also reflects the parties involved have come to terms with the status quo. The issue of Palestine boils down to a problem of territory, which involves multiple sophisticated contradictions, including religion, nationality and history.

Now the parties involved have failed to work out a solution, they have to shelve it to gain temporary peace, which is a kind of balance agreed upon after a meticulous assessment. The balance is quite fragile and as it turns out, easy to break, perhaps just because of a decision by Trump. But solving the problem is difficult, as it requires not only individual heroism, but also efforts by regional powers with a neutral attitude, the willingness of both Israel and Palestine to compromise, and the support of relevant countries.

Currently, these conditions are yet to bear fruit. Washington’s influence upon the Middle East has gradually died away; reconciliation within Palestine has gained initial results; intractable regional and international problems are unnerving Arab states and the parties involved are struggling to deal with tough challenges that keep arising. By breaking the existing balance with this surprise manoeuvre, Trump is kicking the hornet’s nest.

For the two parties in the conflict, although Israel has made some achievements in regional diplomacy and has reached compromise and conducted cooperation with some Arab states, its position in the region will be more awkward because the US’ partiality will not substantially help Israel but probably make it more isolated instead. The Palestinian government previously pinned high hopes on the US to help in the conciliation efforts, but Trump has brought the country into spotlight in another way.

For the region, this move will intensify the existing complications. Palestinian refugees are found across Muslim countries and many Arab nations are involved. In addition, while the crises in Yemen and Syria have messed up the Middle East, bringing the issue of Palestine to the forefront is nothing short of adding fuel to the fire.

For Muslims around the world, Trump’s decision will intensify the contradictions between the Muslim world and the West, as well as foster new extremism, anti-Semitism and anti-Americanism in the region. The large number of Palestinian refugees will exert further influence upon regional security once the extreme thought surrounding Jerusalem sprawls.

Jerusalem is a byword for the most sensitive and sophisticated issue of all time. From the killing of the two-state solution, to the rhetoric that the Palestinian issue is not that hard, to the recognition of Jerusalem as the Israeli capital, Trump’s Middle East solution is unchecked. But to achieve a remarkable result, Mr. President has to understand its difficulty, or he could continue causing trouble for the region.

The author, Shu Meng, is an assistant researcher at the Middle East Studies Institute of Shanghai International Studies University.

Original Source: Global Times

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