President Trump and, therefore, the United States, has officially recognized Jerusalem as the capital of Israel and has initiated the embassy’s move from Tel Aviv, sparking stern warnings from all quarters of the Arab world.
“Peace is Dead” is the recurring theme of the warnings issued by top officials in Jordan, Turkey and other hot pockets of discussion around the seven-decades-long matter of Jerusalem.
Turkish Foreign Minister threatened that his country would sever ties with Israel if Trump went ahead with the embassy move, calling it “irresponsible” and a violation of international law.
Former speaker of the Jordanian Parliament, Abdul-Hadi Majali, told Al Jazeera:
“The Jordanian people are as angry as the Palestinian people. Tonight, Trump killed international legitimacy. For many years it was dying, now it is total death. We had been hoping there would be peace but now the peace is dead.
“The time has come to say no to the US. Geography, history and religion are with us. What we are demanding is international legitimacy, but Israel is behaving recklessly and is supported by Trump.”
The ripples have only just begun, and the populations of several Arab states are expected to come out en masse in opposition of Trump’s declaration in Arab capitals like Tunis, Cairo, Khartoum and Amman.
Some political scholars, however, feel that the governments of some of these countries might not react the same way, citing their need to handle their own internal affairs as a matter of priority.
“The Gulf countries are preoccupied with the war in Yemen and with containing the Iranian/Shi’ite threat, so we probably won’t hear a thing from them,” said Mkhaimar Abusada, a political scientist at al-Azhar University in Gaza.
The most serious fallout from this event could be Trump further alienating the global Muslim community. The move comes barely a week after the Supreme Court gave its green light to fully implement Trump’s third travel ban to be imposed on eight primarily Muslim nations.
“It touches the feeling of Muslims. Trump is not recognizing west Jerusalem as the capital, he’s recognizing Jerusalem without differentiating between east and west. In a way, it will be seen as recognizing the occupation of al-Aksa,” said Abusada, referring to the al-Aksa (al-Aqsa) mosque, the third holiest site in Islam located on the Temple Mount in the Old City of Jerusalem, also the first direction of prayer for Muslims during the lifetime of the Prophet Muhammed, before the Ka’bah in Mecca.
Another Muslim scholar, Shibley Telhami, a fellow at the Brookings Institute in Washington, said:
President Trump “lives in another world. Tonight he offers a gift to all extremists. He talks of making peace but his decisions are the death of peace.”
He gave no consideration to Arab and Muslim leaders who asked him to change the decision.”
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