Why Trump drew ire for Jerusalem move

The Dominion Post - - Opinion -

United States Pres­i­dent Don­ald Trump’s an­nounce­ment that the US recog­nises Jerusalem as the cap­i­tal of Is­rael and that it will move its em­bassy to the holy city has been widely con­demned.

In do­ing so, Trump is break­ing with long­time US policy and po­ten­tially threat­en­ing re­gional sta­bil­ity, de­spite warn­ings from West­ern and Arab al­lies.

Trump’s de­ci­sion was a cam­paign promise on the US elec­tion trail, but could pos­si­bly drive a wedge be­tween Is­rael and the Pales­tini­ans.

Glob­ally, the move has been con­demned, with Turkey, Egypt and Iran re­ject­ing Trump’s an­nounce­ment.

Even the Pope has voiced deep con­cern over the plan.

Why did Trump plan to recog­nise Jerusalem as Is­rael’s cap­i­tal and move the em­bassy there?

There has long been pres­sure from proIs­rael politi­cians in the United States to move its em­bassy from Tel Aviv to Jerusalem, and Trump made it a sig­na­ture promise of his cam­paign dur­ing the 2016 pres­i­den­tial elec­tion.

It is a de­ci­sion that will likely be pop­u­lar with many con­ser­va­tive and evan­gel­i­cal Chris­tians in his po­lit­i­cal base. Many of them sup­port po­lit­i­cal recog­ni­tion of Is­rael’s claim to the city.

US Vice-Pres­i­dent Mike Pence and David Fried­man, the am­bas­sador to Is­rael ap­pointed by Trump, are thought to have pushed hard for both recog­ni­tion and em­bassy re­lo­ca­tion.

The city has been fought over for mil­len­ni­ums by its in­hab­i­tants.

Why does Jerusalem play such an im­por­tant role in the Mid­dle East con­flict?

Re­li­gion, pol­i­tics and his­tory.

Jerusalem is a city that is sa­cred to three of the great monothe­is­tic faiths: Ju­daism, Chris­tian­ity and Is­lam, and each has sites of great re­li­gious sig­nif­i­cance there.

It has been fought over for mil­len­ni­ums by its in­hab­i­tants, by in­vad­ing Ro­mans, Cru­saders, Ot­tomans and the Bri­tish Em­pire, and by the mod­ern states of Is­rael and its Arab neigh­bours.

Is­rael’s gov­ern­ment re­gards Jerusalem as the eter­nal and in­di­vis­i­ble cap­i­tal of the coun­try, al­though that is not recog­nised in­ter­na­tion­ally.

Pales­tini­ans feel equally strongly, say­ing that East Jerusalem must be the cap­i­tal of an even­tual Pales­tinian state.

The city even has dif­fer­ent names.

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Ul­tra Or­tho­dox Jewish men pray at the West­ern Wall in the Old City in Jerusalem.

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