By Ahmad Rafat
The decision by U.S. President Donald Trump to recognize Jerusalem as the capital of Israel has generated worldwide protests. On December 18, the U.N. Security Council voted 14-1 in favor of a resolution calling on the U.S. to rescind its decision. The U.S. cast its first veto in more than six years to block the Egypt-drafted resolution.
Meanwhile, Palestinian Authority President Mahmoud Abbas has vowed to submit the resolution to the U.N. General Assembly.
While most Israelis consider Jerusalem to be the true capital of Israel, many oppose Trump’s plans to relocate the U.S. embassy there. Over 800 Israeli journalists, writers, human rights activists and academics have drafted a petition urging European countries to recognize the State of Palestine.
Amos Oz [professor of literature at Ben-Gurion University in Beersheba], David Grossman [author], Abraham Yehoshua [novelist, essayist, playwright], Daniel Kahneman [winner of 2002 Nobel Memorial Prize in Economic Sciences], Yael Dayan [author, politician, daughter of Moshe Dayan] and Avram Burg [former Knesset Spokesperson] are among the signatories to the petition.
Abraham Yehoshua told Kayhan London: “There has never been a better time for Europe to recognize the State of Palestine. We’re urging European countries to promote a two-state solution, which is the only viable political way forward. European involvement in the peace process would also allow Mahmoud Abbas to remain committed to a non-violent solution and not fall prey to radical elements.”
Avram Burg told Kayhan-London: “Donald Trump’s decision to relocate the U.S. Embassy from Tel Aviv to Jerusalem was careless and stupid. It is not clear if this was part of a bigger plan to establish peace between the Israelis and Palestinians, or a political move aimed at pleasing the Jewish population of America, especially since his popularity is at its lowest ever.” He added: “If this was not a well-thought plan, then it will destabilize the region and lead to more bloodshed. This is exactly what we don’t need right now. We shouldn’t inflame people’s emotions, but instead let logic dictate our approach.”
Burg asserted: “This would have been a courageous decision if it was made in 1967 along with recognizing a Palestinian State. I completely agree with Mahmoud Abbas, who has said that the decision clearly shows that the U.S. is not a neutral peace-broker in the process and cannot be trusted. But I also would like to point out that as a superpower, the U.S. is the only country that can bring Israel to the negotiating table.”
He argued: “This hasty decision by Trump will undoubtedly put Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan and senior clerics in Iran in a better position. But Trump’s comments will soon be forgotten, as were those of Bill Clinton’s 2000 Camp David Summit, George W. Bush’s 2003 Road Map to Peace and Barack Obama’s 2009 speech in Cairo.”
In conclusion, Burg said: “The current crisis will never be resolved as long as the superpowers refuse to recognize the State of Palestine. The continued crisis would strengthen secular and sectarian extremism in Israel, the Arab world and Islamic countries.”