US interests under threat as Trump aggravates Muslims
US president’s Jerusalem announcment outrages most of civilized world Global leaders in dismay, awaiting consequences US interests, citizens at risk of backlash
United States President Donald Trump is in hot water for a move that foreign policy practitioners and experts say is endangering American lives and interests in the Muslim world.
World leaders were left in dismay as Trump reversed two decades of US policy on Wednesday by recognizing Jerusalem as the capital of Israel in a plan to move the US embassy there. The announcement came in spite of frantic warnings from nations around the world, including Indonesia, which said it may lead to dire consequences in a volatile Middle East and elsewhere.
Speaking on the margins of the Bali Democracy Forum (BDF) in Serpong, Banten, Vice President Jusuf Kalla criticized the US’ unilateral action, saying the move would “heat up” tensions globally.
“What they have done will, indirectly but certainly, heat up tensions not only within the Middle East but also around the world,” Kalla said on Thursday.
President Joko “Jokowi” Widodo had earlier come out with a message of strong condemnation in response to Trump’s statement and asked Washington to reconsider its decision. He also urged members of the Organization for Islamic Cooperation to discuss the matter. An extraordinary summit is expected on Dec. 13.
The eastern sector of Jerusalem was annexed by Israel in 1967 in a move not recognized internationally. Palestinians claim East Jerusalem for the capital of the independent state they seek.
Trump’s decision stirred outrage across the Muslim world, with protests breaking out in parts of Jordan and Palestinian group Hamas calling for a new “intifada against the conquerors,” Reuters reports. In Jakarta, Indonesia’s largest Muslim organiza- tion, Nadhlatul Ulama, staged a rally in front of the US embassy.
“The decision will just harm the US. In many countries in the world, pressure [from the people] for their government to kick out the US ambassador will increase,” said Helmy Faishal Zaini, the organization’s secretary-general.
Indonesia, home to the largest population of Muslims in the world, is a staunch supporter of Palestinian self-determination. In a show of solidarity for Palestine, Foreign Minister Retno LP Marsudi opened the BDF wearing a scarf with a Palestinian motif and taunted the US for not understanding democracy.
The US Embassy in Jakarta sparked outrage on Thursday when it indicating Washington had consulted with US allies and partners, including Indonesia, before Trump made his announcement. US envoy Robert J. Donovan was summoned to Serpong to clarify and rectify the situation.
Meanwhile, Middle East expert Reza Widyarsa of Gajah Mada University said he was concerned that Trump’s announcement would be used as justification for militants to target US assets.
“If I were an American businessman with investments in the Middle East, I would be having a heart attack right now,” Reza said. “For the Muslim community the whole gamut of groups from moderates to hardliners will come together on this issue. They may choose to boycott American products at the very least.”
Phillips Vermonte of the Centre for Strategic and International Studies (CSIS) said Trump demonstrated “US ignorance.”
“With such an announcement, Trump just proved the one thing we feared the most — that the US [...] has become a security threat to many nations,” Phillips told The Jakarta Post on Thursday.
Dewi Fortuna Anwar of the Indonesian Institute of Sciences urged all concerned governments to make it clear to US missions around the world that Trump’s policy is “reckless, endangers global peace and also endangers Americans themselves overseas.”
Presidential disaster: Palestinian protesters run from tear gas fired by Israeli troops during clashes near the Jewish settlement of Beit El, near the West Bank city of Ramallah, on Thursday during a protest against United States President Donald Trump’s decision to recognize Jerusalem as the capital of Israel.