Political Focus: The controversial case of Israel’s capital

The United States controversial move to Jerusalem only fans the flames of the Israeli–Palestinian conflict

John Bozick, Web Editor

From 1947 to about 1949, 750,000 Palestinians fled or were forced from their homes to make way for the incoming colonization of Palestine into the state of Israel. To many Palestinians, this event is known as the “catastrophe” and is commemorated on May 15 of every year, and it just so happens that this upcoming May will see another event added to the “catastrophe.”

On Feb. 22, the Trump Administration formally announced that it’s incredibly controversial embassy in Jerusalem will hold its opening ceremony on May 14, the day celebrated as Jerusalem’s Independence Day. This move comes after Vice President Mike Pence told the Israeli Parliament last month that the embassy would not be moved to Jerusalem until 2019.

When the Trump Administration announced that the United States would be moving it’s embassy in Israel from Tel-Aviv to Jerusalem, many instantly worried of the consequences that could follow, and how this move would impact peace talks between Israel and Palestine.

Palestine claims the eastern part of the city, which is currently under Occupation by Israel, as the site of its capital under a future Palestinian state. The city, which houses some of the holiest sites for Islam, Christianity and Judaism, was to be a critical point of discussion in upcoming peace talks.

As controversial as President Donald Trump’s move is, the U.S. Congress did pass a resolution in 1995 that legally required the U.S. to recognize Jerusalem as the capital of Israel, yet no former leader since then has moved the embassy over fears of backlash by the people of Palestine. By moving on this resolution the U.S. was officially disqualified as a mediator in peace talks between Israel and Palestine.

In the days following Trump’s announcement there have been multiple demonstrations in Palestine, the Middle East and other countries condemning the move. The United Nations general assembly also voted 128-9 to condemn the plan, much to the U.S. and Israel’s objection.

The plan to move the U.S. embassy is a mistake that could severely impede the idea of peace in the region. Instead of blindly supporting Israel over Palestine, the U.S. should be working toward a two-state solution.

Much of Palestine remains under illegal occupation by Israel and by declaring Jerusalem the capital of Israel, the U.S. has shown once again that it does not support the idea of peace and a two state solution in the region. It also shows that the people of Palestine will continue to face oppression and violence as more of their land is taken from them and used to build homes and neighborhoods for Israeli settlers.

While the argument of terrorism can be made against Palestine, one can only wonder what else can be done for a generation that has grown up seeing airstrikes, tear gas and soldiers on a daily basis? By moving the U.S. embassy to Jerusalem, the U.S. has only given more reason for violence in both Israel and Palestine. Serious peace talks should be done before any side lays claim to a city as historically and culturally significant as Jerusalem.