Jerusalem holds a unique political, religious and spiritual significance and has always been the epicenter of the Middle East conflict and a critical issue for resolving it. Thus, any decision regarding Jerusalem should not be taken lightly and even more so unilaterally and its consequences should never be underestimated.
The UN Security Council, entrusted with the maintenance of international peace and security, adopted several resolutions, including the most recent UNSC resolution 2334 (2016) that clearly evoked the issue of Jerusalem and reaffirmed its centrality and the principles applicable to the situation prevailing in the holy city.
In these resolutions, the Security Council recalled in unequivocal terms that all legislative and administrative measures and actions taken by Israel, the occupying Power, which purport to alter the character and status of the Holy City of Jerusalem have no legal validity and constitute a flagrant violation of international law and a serious obstruction to achieving peace in the Middle East.
UNSC resolution 478 (1980) determined the responsibilities of all States in this regard and decided not to recognize Israel’s pursuit to alter the character and status of Jerusalem. It also calls upon all Member States to accept this decision and those that have established diplomatic missions to withdraw from the Holy City.
These resolutions were adopted on the basis of the UN Charter and international law, and the cardinal principle of the illegality of acquisition of land by force, reflecting the world’s rejection of Israel’s illegal policies.
This stance was further confirmed by the International Court of Justice’s ruling on the wall erected by Israel in the Occupied Palestinian Territory, including East Jerusalem. Moving the US embassy in contravention of these clear and fundamental rules would constitute a political and legal earthquake with far reaching and volatile consequences, at a time where the region is witnessing unprecedented turmoil with global ramifications.
No peace can be brokered and no solutions found without Jerusalem. Those who act to consolidate Israel’s illegal actions and annexation of Eastern Jerusalem, capital of Palestine, only drags the agenda further away from peace and by default, disqualify themselves from a seat on the table of conciliation and resolution.
The Trump administration’s decision to move the US embassy to Jerusalem would constitute an act of aggression against the Palestinian people’s rights and a grave breach of international law. It could also push the two-State solution based on 1967 borders beyond the point of resuscitation.
The death of the two-State solution would dramatically change both the face of the conflict, as well as the framework for solving it. There will also be grave consequences for the entire region. Such a US decision will not only harm the Palestinian people, but those it pretends to help; as advancing the occupation is escalating the conflict.
We call on the US administration to carefully re-assess the impact of this move, taking into account the United States’ image, interests, and security. The US government’s role is to best serve and preserve the interests of the American people, NOT those of the Israeli Government.
The Trump adminsitration’s move runs counter to the positions adopted by successive Democratic and Republican administrations for over 3 decades, not to mention the unshakable international consensus. It is impossible to understand how such a move of provocation and aggression, can have positive effects for the United States and its interests in the region and globally.
Many Palestinian citizens of Israel declared that if Trump will recognize West Jerusalem as Israel’s capital and East Jerusalem as Capital of Palestine, it would be a positive action that they will support as a step for the 2 state solution.
The US administration has to choose between abdicating to the most extremist views of the nationalistic right movement in Israel and its representatives in the Israeli government or to stand its ground and work on advancing peace. It must be clear that these two positions are mutually exclusive.
We also call on political parties, the relevant international institutions and all freedom loving peoples across the world to mobilize in defending and upholding international law. The mobilization of all political and moral forces of our time is more needed than ever to end the injustice and the dispossession endured by the Palestinian people for 70 years and the military and occupation of the West Bank, including East Jerusalem, and the Gaza Strip for 50 years.
The Palestinian people – like all humans – have inalienable rights, including a right to self-determination and independence, a right to freedom and dignity. They have every intention to exercise these rights in their sovereign State, with East Jerusalem as its capital. That is the path to peace and security for all the peoples in the region.
The alternative is conflict and Apartheid, which we MUST avoid at all costs.