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Trump worsens Mideast peace prospects with embassy move — Editorial

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Montrelle Montesinos | 08 Diciembre, 2017, 00:11

President Trump announced Wednesday he was making the "long overdue step" to recognize Jerusalem as the capital of Israel.

Jordan's King Abdullah II warned the Trump administration that an embassy move could derail Israeli-Palestinian peace efforts ― an issue Trump has delegated to Jared Kushner, his son-in-law and adviser.

Protests so far have been scattered and largely non-violent. Inside Gaza, thousands of Palestinians rallied, some chanting: "Death to America!" But the international community - apart from the US - is united in saying recognition of Jerusalem as the capital of Israel is disastrous for any hopes of reviving meaningful talks.

"I think it reflects the popular will. After all, I think only six months ago, the Senate recognized, yet again, the centrality of Jerusalem to the state of Israel by a vote of 90-0", Mr. Friedman explained.

The internationally unsettled status of Jerusalem and its central importance to Jews, Muslims and Christians explains why, while recognizing the state of Israel, no nation has its embassy in the holy city.

Israel considers Jerusalem its eternal and indivisible capital.

The paper printed the full text of Mr Trump's speech, dubbing it "The Jerusalem Declaration" - echoing the 1917 Balfour Declaration, which expressed the British government's support for a Jewish national home in Palestine and paved the way for Israel's creation.

Dayan insisted there would be "no change on the ground", but Yousef Munayyer, the executive director of U.S. Campaign for Palestinian Rights, disagreed.

An evocative song by the well-known Lebanese singer Fairouz, Flower Among Cities, has been played by some channels, including Al Jazeera. Trump came to office promising to move the embassy, as prior presidents have only to shelve the idea.

The EU's foreign policy chief Federica Mogherini said: "The European Union has a clear and united position". Israel's security is sacrosanct. The Arab countries which border Israel - Egypt, Jordan, Lebanon and Syria - have all condemned the move. "I have not done so because I didn't want to do anything to undermine our ability to help to broker a secure and fair and lasting peace for Israelis and for Palestinians". The move sparked outrage across the Arab world, and many Middle East leaders said the decision signaled the end of the Israeli-Palestinian peace process.

Haniyeh called on Western-backed Abbas to withdraw from peacemaking with Israel and on Arabs to boycott the Trump administration. Palestinian secular and Islamist factions have called for a general strike and rallies on Thursday. His predecessors, Bill Clinton, George W Bush and Barack Obama, had consistently put off that decision to avoid inflaming tensions in the Middle East. It makes bold moves. The Saudis, along with America's other Arab allies, publicly opposed the recognition of Jerusalem.

But his controversial decision didn't come out of nowhere. But it is unlikely that Mr Trump would have gone ahead if they had not privately assured him that they had bigger things to worry about.

"Mr. Trump, Jerusalem is the red line of Muslims", Turkey's President Tayyip Erdogan said Monday.

"We want the uprising to last and continue to let Trump and the occupation regret this decision", Haniyeh said. At the worst, it's going to drive Palestinians away from the peace process entirely and embolden the hard-liners who would rather be throwing rocks than words. There was no immediate response from other regional terror groups, such as Islamic State. In Bethlehem, troops used water cannons and tear gas to disperse protesting crowds.