Jerusalem: The Dilemma of Meddling into State and Foreign Affairs Where One is Not Welcome

The drama unfortunately continues. The current U.S administration has recently declared Jerusalem as the official capital of Israel. Although, Israel claims it as its capital in its constitution, its official capital is Tel Aviv. What are the controversies behind the US declaration? How dramatic and conflicting are the consequences going to be for the city and the region? Here’s our argument on why the US declaration is a huge mistake.

  1. The Middle East has suffered enough without and thanks to the United States. Like we said, “drama”. The best and the worst soap opera is current Orient politics. November was just another level on the ladder of geopolitical “warfare”, military or social. The Saudi interests, apart from what Lebanon stands for them, are very unclear. The Iranian missile launching is not. Clearly, Jerusalem is another chip for discord…
  2. The Jews are the opposite of the Muslims or Christians: any internal conflict is done behind closed doors. Today, Israel is close to a political bloodbath. The Zionists and other conservatives wish to have the most extreme system. International and human rights laws guarantee rights to Palestinians; in reality, the system as the most conservatives want it, threw these out the window numerous times. If there is one fight, which needs to be resolved before any peace negotiations go on, it is the internal conflict between conservative and liberal Jews. This goes beyond Israel, extending worldwide. If anything, it is severely impairing the normal political function and workings of the State. The United States is further crippling this.
  3. Jerusalem has been the victim of enough international decisions, cultural, social, geopolitical, economic, and diplomatic as it is. The UNESCO decision to make the Temple Mount a UNESCO Heritage site, all the while never mentioning the ancient history of Jerusalem, put the world on edge: even those sympathetic to the Palestinian cause were worried about how UNESCO described the now-protected site. While Islam claims the city as its third holy city, Judaism and Christianity both have strong ancient, Biblical, and historical ties to the city and the entire region of Palestine. Palestine is after all a region before being a national identity. The city is, as the world knows, a geopolitical religious battleground without winners or losers. Never mind what the international newspapers write: the situation is like every other event or corner in the Middle East. Not only “drama” but larger than a simple tug-of-war.
  4. As such, Jerusalem is not “capital” material. Three religions: one, which is currently waging a civil war and ultimately will destroy the entire region; a second, which is equally trying out a tug-of-war, ultimately destroying the integrity of one State; and a third, which is desperately trying to keep it together within the reaches of its homeland. The best scénario is a united Jerusalem, capital of no one so everyone can live in peace. Saudi Arabia created a situation in November. The US created another destructive war, which is, if begun, going to create a bigger vacuum than that left by the 2003 Iraq war. In the 21st century, the city is no longer that of one religion. It hasn’t been since the beginning of Christianity. As the Heritage case for the Temple Mount showed, politics tell the story they want to hear, in other words, they leave out 3/4 of the real story. Did it, in any way, help the cause? No, not even the Palestinian one, since internal divisions in their camp have not been efficiently addressed.
  5. The Evangelicals. If there is a religious problem in Christianity, it is the Catholic traditionalists and the American Evangelicals. Of the two evils, the latter is the most destructive political force. Why? They are the political force behind the lobbying for the Iraq war and the most extreme ideas within the Republican party, including isolation, “no immigration” stance, and the anti-abortion movement. Those are only the domestic stances for the most part. They only voted for Trump after he gave out campaign promises geared only to them.. In other words, they already have set their mind on destruction and they are not going to change. These are the people, who thought there were no Christians in Iraq in 2003 so they needed to “evangelize” and convert to Christianity. Fun fact: Iraqi Christian communities are one of the oldest in the entire world and also in the Middle East. They are now scattered throughout several countries, including Lebanon, Syria, Jordan, and Armenia. That said, the solution would be to break the political power American Evangelicals wield.
  6. The world, contrary to Benyamin Netanyahu’s declaration, is not going to follow in the US administration’s footsteps. The UN has now voted on the matter; except for the negative US response, the entire UN membership has voted against the US administration’s declaration. This does not necessarily mean that everyone is on the Palestinians’ side. The question is not only about Palestinian statehood but also for the integrity of a region, the conflict resolution and peace of a greater geographical area, and to not further a deadlock already begun by regional actors by themselves against each other.

This week alone, there was Hanukkah and the end of Advent before the Christmas weekend. Bethlehem, the birthplace of Jesus, cancelled the Christmas decorations and events, which were supposed to take place during the entire season, because of fears of the political and Palestinian riots and manifestations. An Intifada has been declared by Hamas, supported by the PLO and Hezbollah as well as a “Council” meeting between Middle East nations (Arab and Turkish): not much has been heard since on the issue. What is clear is that the situation is on its way to becoming worse and more long-lasting than the January 2009 situation or the 2015 intifada. And so the “drama” continues…

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