News Analysis: Trump's recognition of Jerusalem as Israel's capital ceases U.S. role of sponsor for peace process

Source: Xinhua| 2017-12-07 23:48:06|Editor: yan
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by Osama Radi, Emad Drimly

RAMALLAH, Dec. 7 (Xinhua) -- Palestinian political analysts agreed that the United States had ended its role of sponsor in the Mideast peace process, after U.S. President Donald Trump officially recognized Jerusalem as the capital of Israel.

Trump announced on Wednesday the recognition of Jerusalem as Israel's capital and his intention of moving the U.S. embassy from Tel Aviv to Jerusalem.

The declaration serves "the interest of the United States and the peace between Israel and the Palestinians," said the U.S. president.

Following his speech, Trump signed a presidential decree to transfer the U.S. embassy from Tel Aviv to Jerusalem, a move the Palestinians strongly rejected.

"The decree represents a declaration that the United States will withdraw from its role of sponsoring peace," said Palestinian President Mahmoud Abbas.

The U.S. decision demonstrated Washington's lack of integrity and its biased stand in favor of Israel in the decades-long Palestinian-Israeli issue, agreed the experts.

On the other hand, the U.S. announcement provided an opportunity to break the historical "monopoly of sponsorship of the Palestinian-Israeli resolution," they added.

"Trump's speech showed that his administration no longer adheres to the U.S. traditional position on the Palestinian-Israeli issue," said Hani al-Masri, a Ramallah-based writer and political analyst.

He said that Trump's administration witnessed a shift of the U.S. role from a traditional ally of Israel to Israeli "full accomplice" in terms of the occupation of the Palestinian territories and "colonization of the Palestinian people."

The U.S. move would not change the "international legitimacy of Jerusalem as occupied territory," but would trigger fierce reactions from the Palestinians and the Arab and Islamic world, he added.

Masri also said that the Palestinians wanted to "create a new path different from the one they had followed before the signing of the Oslo Agreement in 1993, with their ceiling already low, which is based on a path that depends on the Palestinian people and the justice of their cause."

The political analyst stressed that the United States must "withdraw from being a mediator and a sponsor of the so-called peace process," calling on the Palestinian mission to retreat from Washington before Trump takes back the decision.

He also suggested the Palestinians complain to the UN Security Council to veto against the U.S. move which violated the international law and the UN resolutions.

The Palestinians have long been eager to establish their independent state with East Jerusalem as their capital, while Israel insists that Jerusalem is its eternal capital.

The international community does not recognize the holy city as the capital of Israel and has condemned Israel's occupation of the city.

Jerusalem is one of the ultimate questions for the Palestinian-Israeli negotiations, which had been stalled since 2014 after nine months of U.S.-sponsored talks without generating any tangible results.

Muhammad Abdul Hamid, another Ramallah-based political analyst, said that Trump's decision on Jerusalem was a turning point in the Mideast peace process.

"Trump's position undermines any actual U.S. balance in favor of the peace process because it recognized the occupation and annexation of Jerusalem and there is no point of establishing a Palestinian state without Jerusalem as its capital," he said.

He pointed out that "the origin of Trump's position is the U.S. Congress resolution of 1995, which called for the transfer of the U.S. embassy from Tel Aviv to Jerusalem, a resolution lacking any legal justification."

"He ignored the legal basis of dozens of international resolutions that no country has the right to occupy the territory of others forcibly, and the right to transfer its population to it, and it has no right to change its features, annex it or steal its resources," Abdul Hamid added.

Trump, who took office early this year, pledged to continue his country's sponsorship of the peace process, but has yet to announce any practical mechanisms for such a move and failed to stick to the traditional position on a two-state solution.

"The U.S. decision on Jerusalem eliminated any opportunity to find a peace process sponsored by Washington, and confirms that the U.S. ideas, prepared for several months, do not work," said Ghassan al-Khatib, a political science professor at Birzeit University in Ramallah.

Khatib stressed that it was natural that any initiative in the peace process proposed under bias would fail, to relocate the U.S. embassy and to acknowledge Jerusalem as Israel's capital are to prejudge one of the ultimate questions of the issue.

The Palestinian academic called for the internationalization of the peace process and the involvement of other players such as Russia and the European Union, in an attempt to push for a real solution to the Palestinian-Israeli conflict and to establish peace and security in the Middle East.