Alwaght– In December last year, US President Donald Trump said he will move the US embassy from Tel Aviv to al-Quds (Jerusalem) after announcing that he recognized the latter as the capital of the Israeli regime. The measure was deemed one of his most important foreign policy moves because it could leave profound impacts on several-decade-old Palestinian case.
The American leader has recently said in a Twitter post that he was “looking forward” to see the relocation of the US embassy to al-Quds next month. The president tweeted as Tel Aviv is preparing to celebrate the 70th anniversary of its creation, something the Palestinians call Nakba, or Catastrophe.
“Best wishes to Prime Minister @Netanyahu and all of the people of Israel on the 70th Anniversary of your Great Independence. We have no better friends anywhere. Looking forward to moving our Embassy to Jerusalem next month,” his tweet on April 18 read.
The new building of the US embassy is scheduled to open on May 14. But with regard to the fresh developments on the regional and also Palestinian stage, the embassy moving will, certainly, observe an array of challenges ahead.
Palestinian resistance responds with “Great March of Return”
Trump’s announcement in relation to al-Quds drew increasing reactions from the Palestinian groups, making the “Great March of Return”, which punctuates the right for the Palestinians to return to their usurped lands, of tremendous significance. In time with the 42nd anniversary of their Land Day, the Palestinians launched their massive annual marches on the Gaza borders with the occupied territories on Friday, March 30. Despite the fact that such demonstrations asking for the seized lands to be handed back to the Palestinians as their rightful owners normally take place every year, this year’s rallies have gained specific weight as they coincide with the US president’s al-Quds-related decision.
The Palestinian marchers have accentuated the need for the United Nations Security Council’s resolution 194 to be implemented. The resolution’s article 11 highlights the right of return for the Palestinians who were displaced after the Israelis seized their lands to form what is now the Israeli regime in 1948.
“This resolution resolves that the refugees wishing to return to their homes and live at peace with their neighbors should be permitted to do so at the earliest practicable date, and that compensation should be paid for the property of those choosing not to return and for loss of or damage to property which, under principles of international law or in equity, should be made good by the Governments or authorities responsible. This resolution also instructs the Conciliation Commission to facilitate the repatriation, resettlement and economic and social rehabilitation of the refugees and the payment of compensation, and to maintain close relations with the Director of the United Nations Relief for Palestine Refugees and, through him, with the appropriate organs and agencies of the United Nations”, the resolution’s article 11 reads.
As of 20 April, at least 43 Palestinians had been reported killed and more than 4,000 injured in the protests, which are scheduled to continue until 15 May. No Israeli casualties have been reported.
On Friday, Ismail Haniyeh of Gaza-based Hamas movement called on all Palestinians to prepare for “human storm” across the occupied Palestinian borders on the Nakaba day, on May 15. He assertively maintained that the Return March has gone past the Israeli threats. Haniyeh urged the Muslim and Arab world to support the Palestinians in their cause. He added that the whole world should support the Palestinians to return home after 7 decades of displacement. Such a show of resistance lays bare the fact that the Palestinians are not going to bow to Trump’s move to recognize as Israeli regime’s capital the city of al-Quds where hosts al-Aqsa mosque, the third holiest site in Islam.
The backlash caused by Trump’s intention for embassy relocation was not limited to the regional public and Muslim world. It went beyond as even the American-Israeli actress Natalie Portman has pulled out of the “Jewish Nobel” prize ceremony in the Israeli regime because of her “extreme distress” over the Israeli troops’ violence against the Palestinians on Gaza border. The actress’ reaction, many believe, will double the strains on Trump administration. It seems that should the protests and global public strains continue, Trump could back down from his controversial decision.
The resolutions’ challenge
Trump’s move has no legal basis, as it is globally disparaged. In mid-December last year, the UNSC held a meeting to consider the status of al-Quds. The US was the most isolated party in the meeting as roughly all of the members, even Washington’s allies, spoke against Trump’s al-Quds recognition step. When the session ended, the envoys of France, Germany, Sweden, Britain, and Italy published an unprecedented statement calling the American measure “in violation of the UNSC and unconstructive.” The UN General Assembly on December 21 overwhelmingly passed a resolution condemning the US al-Quds move. 128 members voted for the resolution, and only 9— Guatemala, Honduras, Israeli Regime, Marshall Islands, Micronesia, Navajo Nation, Republic of Palau, Togo, and the US itself— opposed it. Therefore, as Trump moves to relocate embassy, he has to deal with the UN-passed resolutions, also legally backed by the Western sides.
Arab League and the Palestinian cause
The Arab League a week ago held its annual summit in Dhahran, Saudi Arabia. In a surprise move to Tel Aviv, the Arab leaders unanimously expressed support for Palestine. The meeting’s resolution emphasized the centrality of the Palestinian cause for the Arab states and the Arab identity of al-Quds that Palestinians deem as the capital of their state. The 29th Arab was dubbed “Al-Quds summit” as the Muslim city’s case dominated the League’s agenda. This came while the key mission of Saudi Arabia, a key US regional ally, was to prepare the ground for acceleration of Arab-Israeli diplomatic normalization. The pro-Palestinian posture of the 26-member Arab bloc signaled that the compromising Arab rulers still fear Muslim and Arab public backlash and so steer clear of taking provocative stances.
Now that the Arab League cohesively rejected Trump’s decision to recognize the Israeli occupation of al-Quds, the Muslim public and the international community’s eyes will be set on how the Arab countries will respond should the US relocation scenario materializes next month. Enjoying important geopolitical position and also being the hub of global energy, the Arab states hold in hand great potentials to put strains on both Trump and Tel Aviv and thus turn the tide to Palestine’s benefit. But if the Arab opposition remains in words and actions are not taken, the Arab League will lose its credibility more than before. This issue remains a hurdle ahead of Trump’s project because the Arab allies of Washington will not dare brazenly show advocacy to the plan.