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Trump wantonly fans the flames of Middle East conflict

16 7 30
07.12.2017

Almost the whole world had warned the US president against taking this step: Palestinians, Arab and Islamic countries, but also Germany, the United Kingdom, the European Union, Russia and the Pope. Several Israeli and Jewish voices, such as the established Israeli newspaper Haaretz and the Central Council of Jews in Germany also expressed criticism of the move. It fell on deaf ears. All of them could not stop Donald Trump.

Rainer Sollich heads DW's Arabic department

Notwithstanding the many warnings and concerns about a new outbreak of violence in the Middle East, he kept his campaign promise and unilaterally recognized Jerusalem as Israel's capital — including moving the US Embassy from Tel Aviv to the city that is considered holy by Jews, Christians and Muslims.

Humiliation for the Palestinians

That's not only a symbolically grave step because many Arabs and Muslims – including those outside the Palestinian territories ­– may take it as a severe humiliation and a political defeat. When it comes to Jerusalem, religious and political emotions always run high. On the political level, the United States is breaking not only demonstratively and needlessly from a decades-long consensus in international Middle East diplomacy, according to which the status of Jerusalem should be clarified in the course of a final peace settlement, but the Palestinians continue to claim the eastern part of Jerusalem as a capital for their own future state. With Trump's decision, the US also de facto becomes the only country worldwide to subsequently legitimize the annexation of East Jerusalem, which has been considered a clear breach of international law.

With that, Trump creates a fait accompli and brings the weaknesses and powerlessness of the Palestinians and the Arab-Islamic world before their own eyes. Angry demonstrations, outbreaks of violence, terrorism, notes of protest, the severing of political ties or diplomatic relations: many serious reactions threaten to follow. It is the US president, with his absurd and highly dangerous decision, who bears full responsibility. The move cannot be politically justified. Trump is only, wantonly and in the most dangerous way, fueling the Middle East conflict.

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© Deutsche Welle