Nel's New Day

December 17, 2017

Jerusalem Decision Continues to Rankle

Jerusalem continues to stay in the news as leaders of 57 Islam nations have declared East Jerusalem the Palestinian capital. Turkey, chair of the Organization of Islamic Cooperation, hosted the summit meeting in Istanbul. The nations also condemned actions of Dictator Donald Trump to change the status of Jerusalem as a “unilateral” and “dangerous declaration” as well as an announcement that the U.S. was withdrawing as a sponsor of peace for the region.

In another objection to DDT’s declaration on December 6, 2017 that Jerusalem is the capital of Israel, Ali Salam, mayor of the Israeli town of Nazareth, said that Christmas celebrations were canceled.  He has withdrawn the statement, but the objection still exists. Nazareth, home to Jesus during his youth, is now a town of 76,000, about 80 percent Arab. “Christ”mas celebrations in Nazareth seem to focus on Santa Claus.

Determined to create more problems in the Middle East, DDT may follow his officials in their view that the Western Wall will also be declared a part of Israel. The contradictory position is that borders of the city must be determined through Palestine-Israel negotiations but refuse to accept any position in which Israel doesn’t control the Wall. The sacred location is outside Israel’s pre-1967 borders and is next to Islam’s most revered sites.

VP Mike Pence is headed for the Wall on his trip this week. He will be accompanied by a rabbi, similar to DDT’s trip last May. Pence will also meet with Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu and visit the Yad Vashem Holocaust memorial. Palestinian President Mahmoud Abbas will no longer meet with Pence after DDT tried to give Jerusalem to Israel.

Until DDT, the United States has not recognized Israel sovereignty over the Old City, territory occupied in 1967 and home to valued Jewish, Christian, and Muslim religious sites. Israel controls the Western Wall, a retaining wall from the biblical Jewish Temple, and holds state ceremonies there. Nearby is the hilltop Noble Sanctuary, the third holiest Islam site, and the Temple Mount, considered the holiest site in Judaism.

Thousands around the world continue to protest DDT’s announcement, and DDT is the object of satire.

The UN Security Council plans to vote tomorrow on a resolution requesting the withdrawal of DDT’s recognition of Jerusalem as the Israeli capital. The draft U.N. text expresses “deep regret at recent decisions concerning the status of Jerusalem.” It “affirms that any decisions and actions which purport to have altered, the character, status or demographic composition of the Holy City of Jerusalem have no legal effect, are null and void and must be rescinded in compliance with relevant resolutions of the Security Council.” The resolution also asks countries to not establish diplomatic missions in Jerusalem and “demands that all states comply with Security Council resolutions regarding the Holy City of Jerusalem, and not to recognize any actions or measures contrary to those resolutions.”

A UN Security Council resolution adopted in December 2016 “underlines that it will not recognize any changes to the 4 June 1967 lines, including with regard to Jerusalem, other than those agreed by the parties through negotiations.” The resolution passed with 14 votes in favor and an abstention from the U.S.

The current resolution will fail because it cannot pass with a veto from the United States, but a majority vote will further isolate the U.S.

Jerusalem was granted special status in 1947, placed under international sovereignty and control, because of its religious importance to all three Abrahamic religions. Zionist forces took over the western half of the city in 1948, and Israel captured the eastern half in 1967. In 1980, Israel declared that “Jerusalem, complete and united, is the capital of Israel” in the “Jerusalem Law.” The UN declared that law “null and void” through the passage of Resolution 478; international law maintains that an occupying power cannot have sovereignty in the territory it occupies.

Israel gives citizenship only to Jews in East Jerusalem. The 420,000 Palestinians lack any citizenship, even of Jordan or Palestine. They are treated as foreign immigrants and required to fulfil requirements to maintain their residency status, including proof that they have lived there continuously for a specific period of time. For proof, they must submit many documents including title deeds, rent contracts, and salary information. Citizenship from another country revokes their status to residency. All Jews in the world, however, may live in Israel and obtain Israeli citizenship.

The UN also considers Israel’s settlement in East Jerusalem to be illegal, directly contravening the fourth Geneva Convention preventing an occupying country from transferring its population to occupied territory. Reasons include a temporary occupation that cannot use military rule to establish a long-term presence, protection of occupied civilians from theft of resources, demographic changes in the territory. Despite international law, Israel has built over a dozen housing complexes, or settlements, in East Jerusalem Palestinian neighborhoods, and 200,000 Israeli citizens live there under army and police protection, infringing on Palestinian rights.

Israel already forces Palestinians to suffer from apartheid while DDT makes the situation worse as The New York Times describes:

“The president [has] made a typically grandiose and poorly thought-through political gesture to domestic supporters — in this case, those who staunchly back Israel’s hard-line Likud government.”

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