On Wednesday 6 December Donald Trump declared Jerusalem as capital of Israel, shattering decades of unwavering US neutrality on Jerusalem and triggering the rage of all Palestinians as well as the condemnation of the Arab leaders.
The United Nation and the European Union rejected the declaration and the Hamas leader said it “is a war declaration and opens the gates of hell”, while Netanyahu welcomed Trump’s decision to recognise Jerusalem as Israel’s capital.
Protests have erupted in Gaza and some Palestinians burned pictures of President Trump and switched off Christmas lights at Jesus’ traditional birthplace in Bethlehem. At the moment there’s no sign of violence but worries of a new intifada are on the rise.
In the Arab world many leader rejected the Trump’s declaration. In Qatar the Foreign Minister Sheikh Mohammad bin Abdurrahman Al-Sani called the decision a ‘death sentence for peace’; Bahrain’s Ministry of Foreign Affairs issued a written statement which says the decision threatens the peace process in the Middle East; in Tunisia the Ennahda movement also stressed that the decision is a violation of international decisions and Tunisian labour union said Jerusalem decision a ‘declaration of war’; Algeria’s Ministry of Foreign Affairs also denounced the move and warned the U.S. saying that this is a dangerous step. Similar statements were made by Jordan’s government spokesman Mohammad al-Momani, by Egypt’s Ministry of Foreign Affairs, by Lebanon’s Prime Minister Saad Hariri, and the Saudi Arabia’s Royal Council also strongly condemned the decision with a written statement.
However, the announcement wouldn’t destroy the America’s Arab alliances. As Shadi Hamid writes on the Atlantic, “most Arab countries won’t care much about Donald Trump’s recognition of Jerusalem as Israel’s capital” as “They all share, along with the Trump administration, a near obsession with Iran as the source of the region’s evils”.
Trump’s historic declaration will probably have an impact on Gaza and the nearby regions but it will not be enough to compact all Arabs countries and make them forget the old rivalries in the region.