Tuesday, 23 October 2018

Trump’s siege of Jerusalem

Jerusalem

Trump’s recognition of Jerusalem has raised eyebrows in the political circles of the world. Jerusalem has been the primary source of tension between Israel and the Muslim World. Israel occupied the Palestinian majority East Jerusalem after the 1967 war. United Nations does not recognise Jerusalem as the sole capital of Jewish State, and has termed the status of Jerusalem as “corpus separatum” meaning a separated body. In addition to that United Nations believes that Eastern Jerusalem should be the capital of future Palestine state. But Trump’s declaration has demolished all hopes of a peaceful solution to the Palestinian-Israeli dispute. Turkey has called for an emergency summit of Islamic countries. The effective response of the Islamic world to Trump’s declaration is facing a big hurdle in the form of Iran-Saudi rivalry. Riyadh has significantly tilted towards Israel in the recent years in order to contain the rise of Iran in the Middle East. Iran’s rapid rise has forced Saudi Arabia to side with Israel, the arch rival of Iran, in order to balance the power equation in the region. Furthermore, according to media reports Saudi leaders have vowed to support Israel in its war with Iranian-backed Hezbollah.

Pakistan has rejected the unilateral recognition of Jerusalem by the United States and termed it a blatant violation of international law. Moreover, Pakistan like Turkey has also called an emergency meeting of Muslim countries. Islamabad has no diplomatic relations with Tel Aviv and does not recognise it as a legal member of international community. American President Donald Trump has taken several unpredictable and unilateral decisions in the past. He withdrew the United States from Paris climate change agreement and Iran nuclear agreement, threatened North Korea with nuclear weapons on the floor of United Nations General Assembly, and now the recognition of Jerusalem has evoked a strong reaction from the European Union and Muslim countries. It will harm American moral superiority. Washington has officially joined the Israeli camp in the Middle East. It will further alienate it in the Muslim World which has long considered America’s war on terror as against Muslims. Many political scientists believe that Saudi Arabia’s enmity with Iran will seriously affect its response to the declaration. Riyadh is engulfed by many problems. Its military action in Yemen has not been successful. Its diplomatic blockade of Qatar has also resulted in failure.

The latest American move will weaken its position in the Middle East. It will bolster Iran’s anti-American rhetoric in the region. Trump said that the process of shifting embassy from Tel Aviv to Jerusalem will start soon. It is the perfect time for Muslim countries to sit and devise a proper strategy for tackling American move. What Muslim nations need is unity. A strong political and diplomatic response is needed to pressurise Trump’s administration for taking back this decision. It is not that Muslim nations lack power for a befitting response. What they require is a strong political will and coherent action. The United States of America is dependent on Muslim nations in many ways. It needs Saudi Arabia for oil imports to run its massive industry. Besides this Washington is dependent on Pakistan for vital supplies to its troops in Afghanistan. Furthermore, Pakistan will be an integral part of any future peace process with the Afghan Taliban. Turkey hosts North Atlantic Treaty Organisation (Nato) and American military bases. It can pressurise the West by withdrawing from Nato to which it is the largest contributor of troops after the United States. Apart from that Washington requires Ankara’s support for keeping an eye on Russia.

Moreover, Muslim nations can put significant pressure on Washington by enhancing their ties with Russia and China. The United States is home to a strong Muslim minority. The Muslim lobby in America can play a vital role in forcing Trump’s administration to review its decision by raising their voices through using different platforms.

Robert Fisk, an English writer and journalist, said in interview to Irish radio station, “I received a call from Palestinian women: ‘Remember Kingdom of Heaven,’ she asked me, referring to Ridley Scott’s great movie. Well it’s now the Kingdom of Hell.’’

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