This week, Trump has announced his decision not only to make Jerusalem, a city known for its interfaith connections, the capital of Israel, but he will also move the US embassy in Israel to Jerusalem from Tel Aviv. While the President of Israel, Benjamin Netanyahu, praised Trump for his decision, many world leaders have expressed concerns about the decision, even those who are allies with the United States, such as German Chancellor Angela Merkel, stating her opposition that “in that context, [she] disagree[s] with the decision yesterday”, according to the Associated Press.
Many have also been concerned with the threat of violent protests, which have already been going on. There has been protests in the West Bank, where the Israeli Army sprayed water cannons, used rubber cannons, and used tear gas against the Palestinian protesters. Reports have said that at least 217 Palestinian protesters have been injured in the protests, and the violence also resulted in one death. There has also been protests in other Middle Eastern countries such as Egypt, Iran, and Turkey.
Although Trump says that the White House will still support a two state solution between Israel and Palestine, the decision to declare Jerusalem the capital of Israel was a slap in the face to Palestinians, who are still under Israeli occupation, and especially the ones who are working everyday to try to achieve peace.
This act has been criticized by many on the basis that the tension between Israel and Palestine would only increase due to this decision. Many have expressed that this decision would be a major setback in the process of achieving peace not only between Israel and Palestine, but also in the Middle East as a whole. According to the New York Times, the secretary general of the Palestine Liberation Organization, Saeb Erekat, said that both leaders, Trump and Netanyahu, “have managed to destroy that hope” of settling the conflict between Israel and Palestine, in recognizing Palestine as an independent state.
When Trump was elected, I was not expecting a miracle, nor did I expect the US to be more sympathetic to Palestine. Numerous presidents have expressed support of Israel regardless of the blatant human rights violations that have occured in that region, Republican and Democrats alike. However, this move will definitely not end terrorism and destroy ISIS like Trump as promised to do, not in any way. In fact, it will only fuel the anger and the hatred towards the US, and for a man who is supposed to be the ruler of the free world, he is certainly not promising any positives in his foreign policy so far. Although damage has certainly been done over the last couple of presidencies, only time will tell how much damage will further happen in the next four, maybe eight years.