Trump killed hope for peace in Palestine
2018-01-15 16:50:00 -
Opinion
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Mohammed Samaana

Enough is enough, the world told US President Donald Trump at the UN General Assembly in December after his decision to recognise Jerusalem as Israel’s capital. Despite all his threats to other countries if they voted against him, 128 states (including Ireland and the United Kingdom) did so. Only nine countries stood by Trump, while 31 abstained – including Canada and Australia, which were expected to vote with the US. Some of the world’s poorest countries, such as Afghanistan, were among those who defied Trump and taught him a lesson that other nations’ dignity is not for sale.

 

After Trump’s assaults on the Paris Climate Agreement, his threats to American Muslims and his disrespectful and degrading treatment of women, the WrestleMania lover selected Palestinians as his latest targets. Donny, the poster boy for the KKK and Israel’s staunchest ally, ignored the UN, international law and the entire world by his outrageous decision.

 

Trump is wrong for many different reasons. Jerusalem was invaded and occupied by Israel in 1967 alongside the rest of the West Bank, Gaza, the Golan Heights and Sinai. Therefore what can be applied to any occupied territory applies to Jerusalem. This means that Israel is not allowed to make any changes to the city and the rest of the occupied territories. Since its occupation, however, Israel illegally annexed Jerusalem and declared it its capital. This is beside transferring hundreds of thousands of its population to the city in order to impose demographic changes on the ground. Furthermore, Israel encircled Jerusalem by illegal settlements built on land confiscated from Palestinians in the West Bank.

 

Personally, I had first-hand experience of witnessing Israel’s ethnic cleansing project in Jerusalem where I studied, lived and worked temporarily. West Bankers like myself need permits to enter the city, which is like expecting someone from Dundalk to obtain permission to enter Dublin. 

 

Palestinian patients were not allowed to enter the city for hospital appointments unless they were given permits from Israel. I remember a Palestinian woman in her 70s, who lived on the outskirts of Jerusalem, told me she had to climb walls and jump simply to have cataract surgery. Palestinian Muslims and Christians are not even allowed to visit their holy sites without permits.

 

What’s more, Palestinians from Gaza and the West Bank who are married to Palestinians from Jerusalem or Israel are not allowed to live with their partners without permission and, unlike normal countries, they are highly unlikely to be issued with a passport or ID card. So the only solution is to leave the city and lose their right to live in Jerusalem. The same will happen to them if they live abroad for a few years. That’s why asking a Jerusalem girl on a date was always awkward. Israelis, however, can move to the city freely, and are given incentives to live in illegal settlements.

 

Trump is only the latest American president to approve such discriminatory policies. Despite Israel’s thriving economy, it is the largest recipient of US aid and the only country protected of any foreign aid cuts, with $3.1bn given to Israel last year bringing the total US government aid to Israel to $129.8bn since 1949. Meanwhile, Palestinians are threatened with cuts if they ask for basic rights.

 

Surely Trump’s decision is catastrophic for peace. It’s encouraged Israel to consider annexing West Bank settlements, which was unthinkable before. In effect, Trump has killed any hope for peace.


Mohammed Samaana is a freelance writer based in Belfast.

 

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