Donald Trump admires authoritarian leaders such as Russia’s President Vladimir Putin and Turkey’s President Recep Tayyip Erdoğan so much, some pundits believe he wants to be a dictator, too. Maybe, that is not a big enough stage for him, though. He made a unilateral decision this month that has the world still rocking.
The U.S. president decided to declare Jerusalem the capital of Israel, upon his son-in-law and top adviser, Jared Kushner’s advice. Then, Trump upped the ante and told the world that our nation was going to move the U.S. Embassy from Tel Aviv to Jerusalem. He explained how he would build a new, magnificent structure to house it. Of course, given the history of Jerusalem, archaeologists would have to sift through the soil inch-by-inch, which would slow down the process considerably.
Immediately after 45 made his announcement, violence broke out. Trump lit the fuse on the Middle East’s tinderbox with his declaration. All Abrahamic religions, including Judaism, Christianity, and Islam, consider Jerusalem their holy site.
The United Nations (U.N.) carved the state of Israel out of Palestine in 1947. West Jerusalem went to the Israelis and East Jerusalem went to the Palestinians. In 1967, Israel illegally occupied the West Bank, Golan Heights, and Gaza Strip and has continued to populate 42 percent of these areas with illegal settlements. A full 86 percent of East Jerusalem is covered with illegal settlements.
The original idea behind the U.N. decision was a two-state solution, but decades of diplomacy have not been able to implement that solution. Trump gave away all of his bargaining chips to the Israelis with his announcement.
The U.N. Security Council voted 14-1 for the U.S. to rescind Jerusalem as capital of Israel. U.S. Ambassador to the United Nations Nikki Haley was the only no vote. Unfortunately, there are five countries whose no vote is equivalent to a veto. The U.S. is one, the others are: Britain, Russia, China, and France.
Turkey criticized our nation’s veto, saying Washington lost its “impartiality,” and the Associated Press (AP) reported that Erdogan said this veto was:
‘The most concrete indication of the illegitimacy (of Trump’s declaration).’
The 57-member of the Organization of Islamic Cooperation declared east Jerusalem as the capital of occupied Palestine, last week.
Russia offered to mediate between Israel and Palestine, replacing the role the United States has had for decades. After Trump pulled his stunt, Palestinian President Mahmoud Abbas said the U.S. could no longer serve in that role, even after Trump leaves office. According to the AP, Russia’s Foreign Minister Sergey Lavrov called for the Security Council to undergo:
‘A comprehensive review of the situation in the Middle East.’
Adviser to Palestinian President Mahmoud Abbas, Nabil Abu Rudeineh, asked for an upgrade from non-member observer state and said the Palestinians consider Trump’s act a “provocation:”
‘(That) will not help in creating peace in the region.’
Haley said this was the first U.S. veto in six years:
‘In defense of American sovereignty and in defense of America’s role in the Middle East peace process…the United States will not be told by any country where we can put our embassy. (Trump) took great care not to prejudge final status negotiations in any way. The United States has never been more committed to peace in the Middle East.’
She criticized the vote, calling it:
‘An insult. It won’t be forgotten. It’s one more example of the United Nations doing more harm than good in addressing the Israeli-Palestinian conflict.’
Featured Image via Getty Images.