Jerusalem, capital of peace or war?

U. S. President Donald Trump decided to move the U. S. Embassy in Israel from Tel Aviv to Jerusalem, explicitly recognizing Jerusalem as the capital of Israel. The controversy was served, no matter how much Trump defended the “bravery” of his decision: four days later many voices applauded the fact and others denounced it. But Washington is clear about this and insists that Jerusalem be the capital as a transcendental step “in the peace process.

The last American personality to defend the thesis has been the UN ambassador, Nikki Haley who, in an interview this Sunday on CNN, explained it graphically: the decision, he said,”will move the ball forward” in the peace process between Israelis and Palestinians. “When you make a decision there will always be some who will see it negatively and others who will see it positively. But, I think, in the end, this will move the ball forward in the peace process,”Haley said.

Another reason for tension

Although the Israeli authorities have shown remarkable euphoria at this more or less unexpected turn of events, the fact is that the decision has compromised Washington’s role as a peace mediator and triggered tension in the region with dozens of protests in the Arab country and even a statement condemning the Arab League foreign ministers, who asked Trump to recant his decision. In fact, the Palestinian leadership is considering measures to follow Trump’s decision and, for the moment, President Mahmoud Abbas, as confirmed by his office on Saturday, decided not to receive U. S. Vice President Mike Pence, who will visit the area later this month.

Haley acknowledged that his government expected negative reactions, but insisted that Trump “has removed Jerusalem” from the negotiating table, so that Israeli and Palestinian leaders can now address other issues, such as East Jerusalem, that Palestinians claim as the capital of their future state and that Israel occupied in 1967.

Four dead this weekend

And while the matter is being resolved at the highest level, this weekend on the streets there was a peak of tension that left four people dead and 150 injured in the protests called by the Fatah party, which governs the Palestinian National Authority, and Hamas, which governs Gaza.

Professor Yosi Shain, director of the Department of Political Science at Tel Aviv University, said that despite the threat of a third intifada,”the trend does not seem to be that of a total escalation; rather, it seems that what is happening is that (the Palestinians) are venting their frustration for some reason, when Trump’s speech is not really going to change their current situation,” Shain added. “At the moment all I dare say emphatically is that Trump’s words have been a first-rate diplomatic success for Israel”, he concluded.