Moving US embassy to Jerusalem could lead to turmoil, Arab leaders warn

Palestinian protesters burn a poster depicting U.S. President Donald Trump and a representation of a U.S. flag during a protest against Trump's decision to recognize Jerusalem as the capital of Israel, in Gaza City December 7, 2017. REUTERS/Mohammed Salem
Palestinian protesters burn a poster depicting U.S. President Donald Trump and a representation of a U.S. flag during a protest against Trump’s decision to recognize Jerusalem as the capital of Israel, in Gaza City December 7, 2017. REUTERS/Mohammed Salem

The United States plans to open a new embassy in Jerusalem in May to coincide with Israel’s 70th anniversary.

The move, which the U.S. State Department called an “historic step,” follows President Donald Trump’s Dec. 6 decision to recognize Jerusalem as the capital of Israel.

Trump’s announcement reversed decades of U.S. policy, delighting Israel’s government but dismaying Palestinians, who want the eastern part of the city as their capital. It also drew criticism from some U.S. allies in the region.

The proposed timeline is quicker than many expected. In January, U.S. Vice President Mike Pence told the Israeli parliament only that it would happen before the end of next year.

On Friday, a State Department spokeswoman said that in May the U.S. ambassador and a small staff would begin operating an “interim embassy” from inside a building in the Arnona neighborhood of Jerusalem that currently houses consular operations. She said the search had already begun for a permanent embassy site to replace the current one in Tel Aviv.

WHY DID TRUMP RECOGNIZE JERUSALEM AS ISRAEL‘S CAPITAL, AND ANNOUNCE THE EMBASSY WILL BE MOVED THERE?

There has long been pressure from pro-Israel politicians in Washington to move the U.S. Embassy from Tel Aviv to Jerusalem, and Trump made it a promise of his 2016 election campaign.

Pence and David Friedman, the ambassador to Israel appointed by Trump, are thought to have pushed hard for both recognition and embassy relocation. It is a decision that was popular with many conservative and evangelical Christians who voted for Trump and Pence. Many of them support political recognition of Israel’s claim to the city.

WHY DOES JERUSALEM PLAY SUCH AN IMPORTANT ROLE IN THE MIDDLE EAST CONFLICT?

Religion, politics and history.

Jerusalem is a city that is sacred to Judaism, Christianity and Islam, and each religion has sites of great significance there. Jerusalem has been fought over for millennia by its inhabitants, and by regional powers and invaders including the Egyptians, Babylonians, Romans, early Muslim rulers, Crusaders, Ottomans, the British Empire, and by the modern states of Israel and its Arab neighbors.

Israel’s government regards Jerusalem as the eternal and indivisible capital of the country, although that is not recognized internationally. Palestinians feel equally strongly, saying that East Jerusalem must be the capital of a future Palestinian state. The city has different names. Jews call it Jerusalem, or Yerushalayim, and Arabs call it Al-Quds, which means “The Holy”.

But the city’s significance goes further.

At the heart of Jerusalem’s Old City is the hill known to Jews across the world as Har ha-Bayit, or Temple Mount, and to Muslims internationally as al-Haram al-Sharif, or The Noble Sanctuary. It was home to the Jewish temples of antiquity but all that remains of them above ground is a restraining wall for the foundations built by Herod the Great. Known as the Western Wall, this is a sacred place of prayer for Jews.

Within yards of the wall, and overlooking it, are two Muslim holy places, the Dome of the Rock and the Al-Aqsa Mosque, which was built in the 8th century. Muslims regard the site as the third holiest in Islam, after Mecca and Medina. The city is also an important pilgrimage site for Christians, who revere it as the place where they believe that Jesus Christ preached, died and was resurrected.

WHAT IS THE CITY‘S MODERN HISTORY AND STATUS?

In 1947, the United Nations General Assembly decided that the then British-ruled Palestine should be partitioned into an Arab state and a Jewish state. But it recognized that Jerusalem had special status and proposed international rule for the city, along with nearby Bethlehem, as a ‘corpus separatum’ to be administered by the United Nations.

That never happened. When British rule ended in 1948, Jordanian forces occupied the Old City and Arab East Jerusalem. Israel captured East Jerusalem from Jordan in the 1967 Middle East war and annexed it in a move not recognized internationally.

In 1980 the Israeli parliament passed a law declaring the “complete and united” city of Jerusalem to be the capital of Israel. But the United Nations regards East Jerusalem as occupied, and the city’s status as disputed until resolved by negotiations between Israel and the Palestinians. The King of Jordan retains a role in ensuring the upkeep of the Muslim holy places.

DOES ANY OTHER COUNTRY HAVE AN EMBASSY IN JERUSALEM?

Other countries have had embassies in Jerusalem in the past, but moved them out of the city some years ago. In December Guatemala’s president, Jimmy Morales, said that his country will move its embassy from Tel Aviv. Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu said several countries were considering following the U.S. lead, but he declined to identify them.

Also in December, 128 countries voted in a non-binding U.N. General Assembly resolution calling on the U.S. to drop its recognition of Jerusalem as Israel’s capital. Nine voted against, 35 abstained and 21 did not cast a vote.

WHAT IS LIKELY TO HAPPEN NEXT? HAS JERUSALEM BEEN A FLASHPOINT BEFORE?

Since the announcement there has been tension, with Palestinian protests in Jerusalem, Gaza and the West Bank.

Although clashes between Palestinian protesters and Israeli forces have not been on the scale of the first and second Palestinian intifadas in 1987-1993 and 2000-2005, violence has erupted before over matters of sovereignty and religion.

In 2000, the Israeli politician Ariel Sharon, then opposition leader, led a group of Israeli lawmakers onto the Temple Mount/al-Haram al-Sharif complex. Palestinians protested, and violent clashes quickly escalated into the second Palestinian uprising, also known as the Al-Aqsa Intifada.

Deadly confrontations also took place last July after Israel installed metal detectors at the entrance to the complex following the killing of two Israeli policemen there by Arab-Israeli gunmen.

Arab leaders across the Middle East have warned that a unilateral U.S move could lead to turmoil, and hamper U.S. efforts to restart long-stalled Israeli-Palestinian peace talks.

REUTERS

  • Rudy1947

    Moving the embassy will cause turmoil and the US and Israel are quite aware and will prepare for such events.

    • Rascal

      Isn’t turmoil just a state of existence in the middle east? Just look at who is making the most noise and there will be 10 other reasons why they are unhappy and they will continue to be unhappy regardless.
      All these unhappy muslims seem to be mum about the real genocide happening right next door to in Syria.

      • Niemals

        All these muslims will always react against a anti-islam caricatures but not for the insane bloodshed happening in Syria.

        • And all being perpetrated by Israel and its proxies.

          • Rascal

            Are you Iranian or just another Neo-Nazi? It is hard to tell the two apart. Do you also see Jews everywhere and in your sleep like Hind?

          • What is a Neo-Nazi? I know, but do you?

            I see nothing in my sleep – I sleep peacefully, unlke you paranoid Commie whack jobs who see Neo-Nazis under their beds. ROTFL

          • Y K

            He’s in a bunk (cell?) next to Hind’s at the lunatic asylum.

          • Hind Abyad

            It takes an army in full gear to arrest an unarmed boy?
            Good luck to you.

          • Y K

            “Good luck to you.”

            Arab Nazis don’t need any luck. The Zionist entity is about to crumble any moment now, and Bumbyad is already on her way to Galilee to have coffee with her friend the Toilet Startup CEO. 🙂

          • vs

            Silly cow, armed by stones boy can kill unarmed girl etc. Why monkeystinian boys so dangerous, hateful from childhood?

          • Adam Yonatan Ben Yoel

            Israel doesn’t have any proxies you raging mentally ill Antisemite.

          • Lying Hamitic Canaanite Jews – The Serpent Seed are not Semites.

            https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=DQI9hKQLry8 Israel treating ISIS militants in their hospitals.

            “Israel does NOT want the situation in Syria to end with the defeat of ISIS. Israel prefers Daesh (ISIS) over Assad in Syria.”

            — Israel’s Military Intelligence Chief Major General Herzl Halevi

            ISIS = Israeli Secret Intelligence Service. https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=E9ubCPIHrPQ

            Putin Tells Everyone Exactly Who Created ISIS. https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=OQuceU3x2Ww

      • Hind Abyad
        • Rascal

          Hey, at least the other Nazi likes your comments.

          • Niemals
          • Hind Abyad

            Hey, there’rs no Nazis except your Nazis.
            Frustrated only Nazi colleagues give you uppies?

          • vs

            silly hateful semitic cow with blocked brain upvoting nazi microbe crosbi

          • Adam Yonatan Ben Yoel

            YOU ARE A NAZI

          • Y K

            THAT, AND A MENTAL PATIENT AS WELL. 🙂

          • Niemals

            You are not aware that The Eternal Jew Hater is another name of Hindler, which have the same ideology that Charles Crosby have.

            Hindler is not familiar with Nationalsozialismus (Nazism) ideology and practices associated with the 20th-century German Nazi Party in Nazi Germany and of other far-right groups.

            The German nationalism (especially Pan-Germanism) influenced Nazism, the Völkisch movement.
            Hindler Völkisch movement is the Ummah, which means a nation with common ancestry.

        • Rascal

          “We do not want ISIS defeat in Syria”
          Why interrupt a perfectly good Holy War between Shiites jihads and Sunni Jihads? And Russia is having Afghanistan V2.0 just for fun.
          Just keep those Hezbollah/IRGC off the Israeli boarder and they won’t have to keep blowing up the Iranians that wander too close.

          • Hind Abyad

            Israel and Saudi Butchery factory,supported by United States Jewish Congress, like most sane people I hate war.

            Unlike Neo-Nazi political love for genocide and obliteration,
            i side with the victims of war, the mothers, children, sisters, brothers, fathers, grandmothers and grandfathers, sons and daughters, and others whose lives have been broken by this War.
            Extremist, fanatical, sadistic organizations like ISIS and al-Qaeda who you support when the people suffering most are children and the families causing harm to no one.
            Keep away from me Ratscall.

          • Hind Abyad

            Wa Wa Waaaa…

          • vs

            Sounds? not words

  • Hind Abyad

    The Great Meme War of 2016. Murdoch Reuploads
    https://www.youtube.com/watch?time_continue=7&v=j1bUtvSqyrI Click Youtube for sound.

  • Y K

    Nobody is taking the Arabs’ ritualistic “warnings” (threats, actually) seriously anymore. Unless one is ideologically inclined to embrace them, that is.

  • Niemals

    It appears that the arab world cerats turmoil for as little as a storm in a glass of water.
    The moving of US embassy to Jerusalem, is one ‘storm’, the other is the rare move (citing discriminatory policy), of closing off one of Christianity’s holiest shrines.

    In 1990, Christian sites including the Holy Sepulchre were closed for a day to protest the installation of Jewish settlers near the church, located in Israeli-annexed east Jerusalem.

    Christian sites were shut for two days in 1999 to protest the planned construction of a mosque near Nazareth’s Church of the Annunciation, where tradition holds the Angel Gabriel announced to Mary she was to become the mother of Jesus.

    One may be dissatisfied or not, that Jerusalem was annexed.
    Anyway Israel controls Jerusalem (even without the consent of the world), and there the Israeli laws are used (valid).
    In other words the agreement from 2013 signed between Jordan and the Palestinian Authority, (can not apply to Israeli law provisions – according to Israel).

    The Christian leaders voiced consternation with plans to tax church assets that are considered to be commercial.

    “As a measure of protest, we decided to take this unprecedented step of closure of the Church of the Holy Sepulchre,” the statement said. It added that the tax changes appeared to be “an attempt to weaken the Christian presence in Jerusalem.”

    The clerics also expressed concern about legislation being considered by the Israeli government that would allow the expropriation of church property sold to anonymous buyers.

    Jerusalem Mayor Nir Barkat said in a statement that the city was owed 650 million shekels ($186 million, €151 million) in uncollected taxes. He stressed that the Holy Sepulchre and other churches were exempt from the taxes and that they would remain so.

    The changes applied only to establishments such as “hotels, halls and businesses” that were owned by the churches according to Jerusalem Mayor Nir Barkat.

    It is necessary to point out that the claims by the Christian leaders is very exaggerated with knowledge that the tensions between the groups (Greek Orthodox, Armenian and Roman Catholic ) have impaired restoration work over the past 200 years, but the church was eventually deemed unsafe and only reopened last March after repair work was carried out.
    https://youtu.be/zOgktddPHZI
    Now claiming that the changes mean they will be unable to conduct their social and religious work, including the delivery of social services to those in need is absurd.

  • Niemals

    Despite the fact that Arab leaders across the Middle East have warned U.S, the US has done it, now Guatemala moves and opens its embassy in Jerusalem in May.
    This was already there.
    https://twitter.com/EmmanuelNahshon/status/970543280726401026

    The US has done it, now Guatemala moves and opens its embassy in Jerusalem in May. This was already there.

  • Niemals

    A young German has thrown stones at Israeli security forces during protests in the West Bank. https://uploads.disquscdn.com/images/d3f91c41ec2497c35e36a4a46bf026e23803239b20715676d4e129aa04131437.jpg Border guards at demonstration in Bil’in
    Now the 24-year-old is in prison, he should be deported.
    An official from Germany’s embassy in Tel Aviv said he was looking into the matter, but declined to comment further.

    A High Court ruling in 2007 forced the Israeli government to change part of the barrier’s route, returning some of the agricultural land to the Palestinian side of the barrier.
    mxw/dpa

  • vs