Does Trumps Decision Help or Hinder the Peace Process?
In a move that places domestic politics over decades of international and US precidenet, Predisdent Trump today announced that the US would recognize Jerulaem as Israel’s Capitol.
“Over the past seven decades, the Israeli people have built a country where Jews, Muslims, Christians, and people of all faiths are free to live and worship according to their conscience and beliefs.”Until the new embassy in Jerusalem opens, current law requires the president to sign a waiver that keeps the embassy in Tel Aviv operable. The new embassy “will be a magnificent tribute to peace,” he added.Secretary of State Rex Tillerson said in a statement following the president’s speech that “the State Department will immediately begin the process to implement” the decision to move the embassy. read more at abc7chicago.com
While the step has been anticipated for days, it was not well received outside of Israel itself.
Despite urgent appeals from Arab and European leaders and the risk of anti-American protests and violence, Trump declared it was time for a new approach to Mideast peace after decades of failure. Calling Jerusalem Israel’s capital, he argued, was merely recognizing the obvious.
Ahead of Trump’s speech, a wide array of world leaders warned that his declaration could severely damage Arab-Israeli peace prospects in a region wracked by instability. They said recognizing Israel’s claims to the city, however caveated, would infuriate Muslims and potentially spark protests and violence that might further fray American alliances.
In Israel, Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu said his nation was “profoundly grateful” and Trump’s announcement was an “important step toward peace.” However, Palestinian President Mahmoud Abbas said Wednesday that the U.S. shift “is a declaration of withdrawal from the role it has played in the peace process.” read more at chicagotribune.com
The Pope did not see the move as a wise one, and had urged President Trump to maintaint the status quo.
VATICAN CITY (Reuters) – Pope Francis, speaking hours before U.S. President Donald Trump’s announcement on Jerusalem, called on Wednesday for the city’s “status quo” to be respected, saying new tension in the Middle East would further inflame world conflicts.
In an appeal at the end of his weekly general audience, Francis called for all to honor United Nations resolutions on the city, which is sacred to Jews, Christians and Muslims.
“I make a heartfelt appeal so that all commit themselves to respecting the status quo of the city, in conformity with the pertinent resolutions of the United Nations,” he said.
The Vatican backs a two-state solution to the Palestinian-Israeli conflict, with both sides agreeing on the status of Jerusalem as part of the peace process.