Why Trump’s decision to move US embassy to Jerusalem is so controversial

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Ivanka Trump, the daughter of US president Donald Trump and her husband Jared Kushnehave reached Israel for the official opening ceremony of the US embassy in Jerusalem today.

Image result for Ivanka trump in jerusalem

 

Jewish people in Israel is celebrating the embassy’s move from Tel Aviv but it has triggered overwhelming global opposition. So what is the root of this conflict?

Trump has announced this during his election campaign:
Trump expressed his support for Israel in his election campaign and said the embassy should be moved to “the eternal capital for the Jewish people, Jerusalem.”

Before Trump US had been avoiding to declare Jerusalem the capital of Israel:
The final status of Jerusalem has always been one of the most difficult and sensitive questions in the Israeli-Palestinian conflict. For years, US policy has been to avoid declaring Jerusalem the capital of Israel in the absence of an Israeli-Palestinian peace deal, as the Palestinians also claim Jerusalem as their capital. It was argued that a unilateral decision would break with international consensus and prejudge an issue that was supposed to be left to negotiations.

Let’s know the history:

The United Nations partition plan drawn up in 1947 envisaged Jerusalem as a separate “international city.” But the war that followed Israel’s declaration of independence one year later left the city divided. When fighting ended in 1949, the armistice border — often called the Green Line because it was drawn in green ink — saw Israel in control of the western half, and Jordan in control of the eastern half, which included the famous Old City.

Image result for UN plan green line in jerusalem in 1947

Since the establishment of Israel in 1948, the US and most other nations have not recognised any country’s sovereignty over Jerusalem, which is holy to Jews, Muslims and Christians.

The Israeli government claims Jerusalem as its capital, but the Palestinian National Authority (PA) considers East Jerusalem to be Palestinian territory, illegally occupied by Israel since the 1967 Arab-Israeli War.

Israel has built more than a dozen settlements in East Jerusalem, with an estimated 200,000 Jews living there, but the United Nations Security Council considers this to be an occupied Palestinian territory.

When did that change?:
During the 1967 Six-Day War, Israel occupied East Jerusalem. Since then, all of the city has been under Israel’s authority. The city marks “Jerusalem Day” in late May or early June. But Palestinians, and many in the international community, continue to see East Jerusalem as the capital of a future Palestinian state.

Who lives in Jerusalem?:
Roughly 850,000 people live in Jerusalem — 37% are Arab and 61% are Jewish, according to the independent think tank Jerusalem Institute.Around 200,000 ultra-Orthodox Jews, with the rest split generally between religious Zionist and secular Jews. Of the city’s Arab population, 96% is Muslim; the other 4% is Christian.
The vast majority of the Palestinian population lives in East Jerusalem. Although there are some mixed neighborhoods in Jerusalem where both Israelis and Arabs live, most of the neighborhoods are split.

Did any country establish embassy in Jerusalem before ?:
Before 1980 a number of countries did, including the Netherlands and Costa Rica. But in July of that year, Israel passed a law that declared Jerusalem the united capital of Israel. The United Nations Security Council responded with a resolution condemning Israel’s annexation of East Jerusalem and declared it a violation of international law.
In 2006, Costa Rica and El Salvador were the last to move their embassies out of Jerusalem, joining the rest of the world in locating their embassies in Tel Aviv.

The US has never had its embassy in Jerusalem. It has always been in Tel Aviv:

In 1989, Israel began leasing to the US a plot of land in Jerusalem for a new embassy. The 99-year lease cost $1 per year but the plot has not been developed yet.
In 1995, the US Congress passed a law requiring America to move the embassy from Tel Aviv to Jerusalem.
Every President since 1995 — Presidents Clinton, Bush and Obama — has declined to move the embassy, citing national security interests. Every six months, the President has used the presidential waiver to circumvent the embassy move.

The Palestinians are constantly protesting against Trump’s decision:
Palestinian President Mahmoud Abbas has described the move as the “slap of the century”. He said it would stoke extremism in the region.
The Palestinians are ready to protest against Israel in Gaza and it would be the most unprecedented and formidable and IDF knows it too.

The Israel Defence Forces are expecting the most fearful and violent protests in Gaza” since protests against the US embassy move began at the end of March.

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