US President Donald Trump followed through on a controversial campaign promise to recognize Jerusalem as the capital of the state of Israel and directed the State Department to start planning for a new US embassy in Jerusalem on Wednesday.
“Today we finally acknowledge the obvious: That Jerusalem is Israel’s capital. This is nothing more or less than a recognition of reality,” Trump said during a news conference. “I am also directing the State Department to begin preparation to move the American embassy from Tel Aviv to Jerusalem,” the US leader added.
The decision, which “marks a new approach” to the Israeli-Palestinian conflict, is driven by the fact that “after two decades” of US presidents signing waivers to delay moving the embassy to Jerusalem, “we are no closer to a peace deal,” Trump said, noting that his decision was a “long overdue step to advance the peace process.”
”It’s a very big deal for the Palestinians,” Arab Barghouti told Sputnik Radio’s Loud & Clear following Trump’s announcement. Arab is the son of Marwan Barghouti, a leader of the First and Second Intifadas and a member of the Palestinian Legislative Council. He is imprisoned by the Israelis for murder.
“Jerusalem has been the source of both peace and violence between the Palestinians and the Israelis the past few decades. It’s a confession from President Trump that the Palestinians have no hope of having their own state. In my opinion, it’s the declaration of the death of the two-state solution,” Barghouti said.
“The US, [which is] the most powerful party that plays between the Palestinians and the Israelis in the peace process, recognizing Jerusalem as the Israeli capital is very disappointing,” Barghouti noted, adding that it has the “potential for leading to violence, unfortunately.”
Nevertheless, some Middle East analysts contend that the argument that Trump jeopardized the peace process between the Israelis and Palestinians by making the announcement is misleading. “There are many reasons one may oppose Trump’s Jerusalem Embassy announcement,” Northeastern University professor Max Abrahms said Wednesday, “but destroying a non-existent peace process surely isn’t one of them.”
”My guess is the violence won’t peak right away,” Abrahms said via Twitter, noting that Palestinian groups have called for three days of rage from Wednesday to Friday. “It will take a little time to get better organized, possibly in response to reprisals. We’ve seen this scenario play out before.”