On Wednesday, December 6th, in a now much condemned decision, President Trump recognized Jerusalem as the capital of Israel. This break in previous policy by the U.S. has serious implications for the world and upends years of fragile peace that has been maintained between Israel and Palestine.
But what effect does this actually have on the region? Well, to comprehend the overall situation, you would have to go back a few decades to the Six-Day War in 1967 during which Israel triumphed against various Arab nations after a relatively brief period of fighting. Israel took some land in the process of victory, and some of this land happened to be half of Jerusalem, a city which is extremely important to both Jews and Muslims worldwide.
As the city was split in half, tensions rose. Various conflicts have erupted since then, with Palestinians and Jews at each other’s throats.
Then, in the 1990’s, peace talks began, aimed at stemming violence in the area. With America leading the way, the leaders of both Palestine and Israel began to meet and discuss solutions. Hope emerged and America was commended for bringing about a new age of peace in the Middle East.
But all this came crashing down when Donald Trump recognized Jerusalem as the capital of Israel in December. Fifty Muslim majority countries condemned the decision, and America lost all reputation it had gained for its role as a neutral arbiter in the conflict.
The foreign minister of Qatar called Trump’s decision “a death sentence for peace.” He was not alone, as Palestinian Authority President Mahmoud Abbas deemed the move “a deliberate undermining of all efforts to achieve peace.” He also noted that Trump’s decision “represents a declaration of the United States’ withdrawal from undertaking the role it has played over the past decades in sponsoring the peace process.”
The president of Egypt said in a statement that the U.S. had been warned against “taking measures that would undermine the chances of peace in the Middle East.”
Trump is not doing America a favor by making this decision as he has further alienated the U.S. from potential allies and important partnerships in the Middle East. Making enemies of most of the Muslim world is detrimental for America, and will prove especially so when it wants to carry out another one of its frequent interventions in the area.
Arab nations are not the only ones who condemned Trump’s decision. Most of the international community shared their anger and frustration with our president. The European Union stated there was cause for “serious concern” over the decision, and the United Nations said “there is no alternative to the two-state solution, there is no Plan B.”
Students at Richard Montgomery High School have also expressed dismay at Trump’s decision.
Freshman Hannah Levy is an active member of the Orthodox Jewish community. She considers herself a Zionist, but still does not support Donald Trump’s decision. “It’s [Jerusalem] an incredibly divided city…even right now, in a state of relative peace, people are getting attacked there. It just doesn’t make sense. He’s like, ‘this will create peace,’ which is a flat out lie and everyone knows it. To read what experts are saying about this, there’s no benefit even for the United States.”
A member of the Muslim community, junior Ummara Khan also strongly condemns Trump’s decision: “There’s really no need for that [decision] because with the conflicts that have been going on in Palestine and Israel right now, it’s not helping the situation.”
From global leaders to high school students in Maryland, this decision is being widely criticized. The recognition of Jerusalem as Israel’s capital undoes years of fragile peace, and unfortunately, everyone but our president knows it.