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Thursday, October 29, 2020

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Reckless and Unjust

American President Donald Trump has characteristically stirred the hornet’s nest by deciding to move the embassy of the United States to Jerusalem in gross violation of the UN Security Council’s resolution 478. The Council had held “null and void” the Israeli Parliament’s 1980 bill declaring “Jerusalem, complete and united is the capital of Israel”. The Knesset had passed the bill after the right-leaning Likud Party headed by Menachem Begin had formed its first government in the Jewish state.
Given the extraordinary effectiveness of the Israel lobby in the US and its arm-twisting prowess to transform the Middle East in such a way that all threat to the State of Israel is eliminated, it is no surprise that Trump has given a go-head for the shifting of the US embassy. More so when the Middle East potentates seem to be more keen to reach for the jugulars of their Arab neighbours than confronting Israel, the un- authorised occupier of most of the Palestinian land and violator of several key resolutions of the United Nations.
Needless to mention that the powerful Israel lobby had pressured the US Congress to pass the Jerusalem Embassy Act in 1995 with a rider by way of a clause that had allowed the US President to postpone its application for six months. Former Presidents Bill Clinton, George W. Bush and Barack Obama had been ratifying the clause every six months since then.
It is useful to be reminded that the 1947 UN Partition Plan had provided for two states—Jewish and Arab—with Jerusalem coming under a ‘unique international regime’. Curiously, the Jewish leaders had accepted the plan while Arab leaders had rejected it. In 1948, when Israel came into existence, Israel seized the west of the city while Jordanians and Palestinians had taken the east. It was in 1967 following shameful defeat of four Arab countries (Egypt, Syria, Jordan and Lebanon) that Israel occupied East Jerusalem too which has all the sites sacred to three Abrahamic faiths, viz Islam, Christianity and Judaism. The 1993 Oslo Accord while calling for two-state solution had deferred the decision on the status of Jerusalem. Since then most foreign missions to Israel have stayed put in Tel Aviv awaiting a final solution to the Palestine question. Mr. Trump’s reckless move to officially recognize Jerusalem as the Israel’s capital and shift the US embassy ignoring the international opinion (Arabs of course, hardly matter now) would further jeopardize the prospects of peace in the region. Talks of a third intifada and mass unrest in the fragmented lands under the Palestinian Authority are proof enough that the move in no way serves the objective of peace in the region.
Amid all this, Government of India’s decision to retain the Indian mission in Tel Aviv deserves appreciation. The NDA Government has shown great sagacity in perceiving the historical, moral and political significance of the issue.

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