Jerusalem as Israel's Capital - US

iasparliament
December 07, 2017
5 days
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Why in news?

  • U.S. President Trump reversed the decades old policy, and recognised Jerusalem as the capital of Israel.
  • The US administration would also begin a process of moving the U.S. embassy in Tel Aviv to Jerusalem.

What is the tussle with Jerusalem?

  • Jerusalem is in ways symbolic of the Israel-Palestine conflict itself.
  • The tussle centres on who gets to control the ancient city that is sacred to Jews, Muslims and Christians.
  • After the end of the First Arab-Israel War in 1948, Jerusalem was partitioned into West and East, under Israeli and Palestinian control respectively.
  • But in 1967, during the Six-Day Arab-Israel War, Israel snatched East Jerusalem from Jordanian forces.
  • Israel’s Parliament also declared the territory had been “annexed to Israel” and Jerusalem had been “reunited”.
  • The predominantly Palestinian population in the east lives under full Israeli control, but cannot vote in parliamentary elections.
  • This marginalised the Palestinians, who wanted East Jerusalem to be their capital under the “two-state solution”.
  • Israel was undeterred by the refusal of the international community to endorse the annexation.
  • It further added over 200,000 Jewish settlers to the once-almost entirely Arab East Jerusalem.

 

  • Meanwhile, in 2016, the UN reaffirmed that Jerusalem’s Palestinian territories were under “hostile occupation”.
  • The international community considers east Jerusalem illegally occupied by Israel.
  • Notably, foreign embassies to Israel are in Tel Aviv and not Jerusalem.
  • India for its part has traditionally backed a two-state solution, and assured that the Indian embassy would stay in Tel Aviv.

What is the significance of the US's move?

  • Jerusalem - Jerusalem is almost the key to stability of the entire Middle East.
  • It has many shrines that are equally significant for the Jews, the Muslims and the Christians.
  • Trump's move reflects Jerusalem as the centre of Jewish faith, and the fact that the city is the seat of the Israeli government.
  • US - Trump expressed hope for start of the peace process and reiterated his commitment to the two-state solution to the Israel-Palestine conflict.
  • The effort to please the core base of pro-Israel hardliners and the overwhelming Jewish population in US cannot be denied.
  • But, as with most political developments in the Middle East, a bigger regional game could also be behind.
  • This possibly includes a US-Saudi-Israel alliance against Iran, the common enemy.
  • Response - The UN Secretary General voicing dissent had said that the issue on the holy city must be resolved only through direct negotiations.
  • The Islamic world is outraged and many Arab leaders warned it could trigger an upheaval in the already volatile Middle East.
  • Palestine has warned of dangerous consequences and said the decision was a declaration of war in the region.
  • Neighbouring Jordan and Turkey have cautioned the US and have threatened to cut ties with Israel.
  • Militant groups in the region could possibly take aggressive stances.

 

Source: Indian Express, The Hindu

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