Recognising Jerusalem: Unilateralism, International Law, and the Trump White House

What ramifications and when? The recognition of Jerusalem as the natural capital for the State of Israel by US President Donald J. Trump was promised by the buffoonish steward of the empire. Delivering on it was not necessarily expected – US presidents, keen on courting pro-Israeli groups, had been promising to do so for years.

Overthrowing the shackles of convention is something Trump believes is a valuable substitute for good sense. Ruffle feathers, dirty assumptions, and hope that it catches. One such convention is the steadfast refusal on the part of states to recognise Jerusalem as the Israeli capital in any de jure sense.

From the White House, Trump claimed he had “judged this course of action to be in the best interests of the United States of America, and the pursuit of peace between Israel and the Palestinians.” Such best interests evidently did not include Palestinians as such, but was “nothing more or less than a recognition of reality”.

This is a reality born of brute force rather than guiding law. In the case of the latter, it is without any distinct foundation, unless intangible spirits are accorded corporeal dimensions. UN Resolution 181, passed by the UN General Assembly on November 29, 1947, deemed the city “a corpus separatum under a special international regime”.

Subsequent moves based around the force of arms were made in contravention of the resolution, though these never had the blessing of international law: Israel claimed West Jerusalem during the Arab-Israeli War of 1948; Jordan assumed control of East Jerusalem in 1950.

The Six-Day War of 1967 saw Israel seize the eastern portion of the city, an act that generated a string of finger pointing resolutions from the UN Security Council. Resolution 267 (Jul 3, 1969), confirming resolution 252 (May 21, 1968) reaffirmed the position that “acquisition of territory by military conquest is inadmissible”.

Since then, the internal assumptions of the Israeli state have been unmistakable: legalise domination and legitimise control over the Holy City. The Knesset, in 1980, decided to treat Jerusalem’s status as an internal matter. “Jerusalem, complete and united, is the capital of Israel.” The UN Security Council gave a different serve, calling on all states “that have established diplomatic missions” in Jerusalem to withdraw them.

Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu had certainly scored a coup, calling the move a “genuine milestone in the glorious history of this city.” The US Congress, heavily lobbied by AIPAC and then Israeli opposition leader Netanyahu, did much the same in 1995, passing legislation requiring the move of the US embassy to Jerusalem. This measure effectively compelled administrations to sign a waiver every six months delaying the move.

Trump, in refusing to issue another waiver, delighted local political punters. The Republican Jewish Coalition was so thrilled at the move from the White House, it took out an advertisement in the New York Times congratulating the President for “courageously recognizing Jerusalem as Israel’s Eternal Capital.”

Such moves are given the deceptive, even dangerous clothing of spiritual, immutable eternity. Ever ready for the pulp fiction narrative, Trump would tweet that the city “has been the focus of our hopes, our dreams, our prayers for three millennia.”

In the at times unsteady world of international law and deliberation, the approach to Jerusalem has generally been stable: refuse to acknowledge any one claim to sovereignty over the city in favour of an international administration or accept an outcome drawn from a peace process.

The tangible outcome of the declaration is hard to say, though its message is unmistakable, treading with disdain on Palestinian assumptions that East Jerusalem be the capital of any future state. It accords primacy to Israeli supremacy, and, importantly, the status of Judaism. The status of the city, intended to be the subject of future discussion as outlined in the 1993 Israel-Palestinian peace accords, is directly brought into question by Trump’s move. This is the nature of unilateral punchiness writ large.

Allies have been left stunned; Islamic states are waving their fists with threatening promise, more concerned with the reactions of their own populaces than anything else. To predetermine the outcome of the fate of the Holy City, claims Mouin Rabbani with some colour, “would constitute an act of premeditated political pyromania with unforeseen local, regional and global consequences.”

Mahmoud Abbas of the Palestinian Authority has been put in a particularly difficult situation, caught between having to take a frothily angered stand (Palestinian figures are clamouring for three days of rage), but also what can be made of an essentially moribund peace process. “This,” he rightly notes, “is a reward to Israel.”

Inflammatory outcomes are also promised with typical relish. Sheikh Ahmed al-Tayeb, imam of Egypt’s al-Azhar mosque, claimed Trump’s move would incite “the feelings of anger among all Muslims and threatens world peace. The gates of hell will be opened in the West before the East.”

Most strikingly is the notion that unilateralism is tolerable, even desirable, when it comes to matters Israeli. When other states, without Israeli consultation, choose to recognise anything Palestinian, even in terms of a nominal status, unilateral conduct becomes a matter for abuse and derision.

Short of not packing the diplomatic bags and upping stakes from Tel Aviv to Jerusalem, governments will maintain stony faces and deem such moves complicating, conditioned by a good degree of apocalyptic rhetoric against the US-Israel alliance. But over the years, the Palestinians have retreated into the recesses of a consciousness numbed by international rivalries among Muslim states. They are no longer the poster boys and girls of revolutionary justice.

From the war in Syria to the conflict in Yemen, states of various shades of Islam are shoring up allies and rivalries with murderous consistency. Such continuing disunity is exactly what Israel, and its US backers, will be hoping for, letting the babble over Jerusalem slide into its own eternity.

Dissident Voice

Support this site

News Sources

Source Items
The Real News 203
Scrutinised Minds 15
Need To Know News 708
FEE 1698
Marine Le Pen 92
Francois Asselineau 25
Opassande 50
HAX on 5July 220
Henrik Alexandersson 345
Mohamed Omar 148
Professors Blog 10
Arg Blatte Talar 35
Angry Foreigner 14
Fritte Fritzson 11
Teologiska rummet 28
Filosofiska rummet 43
Vetenskapsradion Historia 60
Snedtänkt (Kalle Lind) 139
Les Crises 953
Richard Falk 55
Ian Sinclair 49
SpinWatch 31
Counter Currents 3040
Kafila 253
Gail Malone 23
Transnational Foundation 216
Rick Falkvinge 65
The Duran 4422
Vanessa Beeley 65
Nina Kouprianova 9
MintPress 2854
Paul Craig Roberts 656
News Junkie Post 39
Nomi Prins 15
Kurt Nimmo 191
Strategic Culture 1911
Sir Ken Robinson 13
Stephan Kinsella 36
Liberty Blitzkrieg 686
Sami Bedouin 59
Consortium News 1661
21 Century Wire 2285
Burning Blogger 237
Stephen Gowans 47
David D. Friedman 108
Anarchist Standard 16
The BRICS Post 1276
Tom Dispatch 290
Levant Report 17
The Saker 2463
The Barnes Review 415
John Friend 299
Psyche Truth 146
Jonathan Cook 122
New Eastern Outlook 2392
School Sucks Project 1065
Giza Death Star 1156
Andrew Gavin Marshall 15
Red Ice Radio 526
GMWatch 1350
Robert Faurisson 113
Espionage History Archive 33
Jay's Analysis 520
Le 4ème singe 67
Jacob Cohen 156
Agora Vox 6056
Cercle Des Volontaires 370
Panamza 1133
Fairewinds 93
Project Censored 505
Spy Culture 270
Conspiracy Archive 55
Crystal Clark 11
Timothy Kelly 303
PINAC 1438
The Conscious Resistance 413
Independent Science News 59
The Anti Media 3850
Positive News 770
Brandon Martinez 30
Steven Chovanec 47
Lionel 224
The Mind renewed 189
Natural Society 2391
Yanis Varoufakis 631
Tragedy & Hope 105
Dr. Tim Ball 52
Web of Debt 111
Porkins Policy Review 263
Conspiracy Watch 174
Eva Bartlett 490
Libyan War Truth 247
DeadLine Live 1877
Kevin Ryan 56
Aaron Franz 152
Traces of Reality 166
Revelations Radio News 101
Dr. Bruce Levine 89
Peter B Collins 1103
Faux Capitalism 203
Dissident Voice 8169
Climate Audit 204
Donna Laframboise 232
Judith Curry 974
Geneva Business Insider 40
Media Monarchy 1584
Newsbud 2203
Syria Report 70
Human Rights Investigation 85
Intifada (Voice of Palestine) 1685
Down With Tyranny 8227
Laura Wells Solutions 15
Video Rebel's Blog 396
Revisionist Review 469
Aletho News 14878
ضد العولمة 27
Penny for your thoughts 2265
Northerntruthseeker 1719
كساريات 37
Color Revolutions and Geopolitics 27
Stop Nato 4444 Blog 2232 Original Content 5169
Corbett Report 1829
Stop Imperialism 491
Land Destroyer 1005
Webster Tarpley Website 714

Compiled Feeds

Public Lists

Title Visibility
Funny Public