by Imithiaz Bakeer Markar
This is year 2017. The Balfour Declaration which gave birth to Palestine calamity marks its 100th anniversary this year. The Declaration is widely acknowledged as the protocol that triggered a number of protracted armed conflicts and seemingly interminable violence that continue to ravage the world. It set the stage for bifurcation of Palestine to accommodate Jews victimized in Europe. Millions of Palestinians were rendered homeless and became refugees. The few Palestinians that were left in the Palestinian soil were herded into open air prison camps. Hundreds of thousands of other Palestinians were killed, brutalized and chased away from their motherland.
As the Balfour declaration marks its 100th year this year, new American President Trump has made a potentially explosive statement that could trigger a similar catastrophe in the Middle East.
He has issued this statement acknowledging Jerusalem as the capital of Israel while pledging to move the American embassy from Tel Aviv to Jerusalem.
Understandably, this situation has made Islamic and Christian Palestinians highly agitated and tense.
Trump’s provocative statement has dealt a despicably debilitating blow to the international acceptance for the establishment of an independent Palestinian state with East Jerusalem as its capital.
Jerusalem is an area forcibly being occupied by Israel following the 1967 war. Trump’s statement recognizing Jerusalem as the capital of Israel makes a dramatic volte-face of American policy of 70 years.
Violation of international law
The long term American policy which considered as illegal any construction in the occupied areas including Eastern Jerusalem and the West Bank has been subject to abrupt and complete reversal through this statement. This is a flagrant violation of international law and a rejection of the right of the Palestinian people for freedom and self-determination.
This statement callously disregards the United Nations stance that illegal construction of settlements using force in the occupied areas in contravention of its decisions in respect of occupied areas is an obstacle to peace.
According to statistics of 2014, 82% of the people of East Jerusalem live in abject poverty. They have been confined to 13% of the total land area. Illegal settlements are being carried out in 35% of lands.
Watchdog of democracy and freedom
A responsible leader is duty bound to respect the right of the Palestinian people to live with dignity and self-respect.
Today the entire world is dumbstruck and watching with dismay as Trump continues to cause irreparable damage to traditional US ties not only with the Middle East but with traditional allies like Germany, Canada, Mexico, Eastern European countries, Japan and South Korea. The American society is slowly waking up to the reality of Putin and Trump nexus.
Not only the Western European countries but the entire world is watching anxiously whether Trump is engaged in a sinister campaign to destroy the efforts of the US to build an image as the watchdog of democracy and freedom.
Only the time will tell whether the impact of the unholy alliance consisting of Trump, Putin and Netanyahu on the political landscape of the Middle East but the global polity is just empty rhetoric or a Tsunami.
Solution to Middle East conflict
It is no secret that Zionist extremism propagated by Netanyahu received the blessings of the Obama administration. The biggest ever allocation of US 39 billion to Israel during a 10-year period was made during the Obama administration. When the overwhelming majority of countries of the United Nations sanctioned Israel for its anti-democratic stance with utter disdain for fundamental human rights, the Obama administration stepped into veto them. However during the tail end of its administration, it somewhat toughened its policy towards Israel.
Obama’s Secretary of State John Kerry recently claimed that the “right wing government of Netanyahu is the worst right wing government in the history of Israel.” Significantly, when the UN adopted a unanimous resolution branding it as illegal the construction of settlements in occupied areas, the US abstained from voting and did not use its veto power to invalidate the resolution.
Though a peaceful solution to the Middle East conflict was a top priority in the political agenda of Obama during the run-up to the Presidential election and though he further confirmed his resolve for a peaceful solution through his famous ‘Cairo speech’, he did practically nothing to covert his words into deeds during his tenure.
Unholy alliance between Trump and Netanyahu
However he seemed to have earned some degree of respect from the Arab World and moderate countries for adopting a tough stand against the Netanyahu regime, thus absolving himself somewhat of his past sins.
At a time the West has shown readiness to revisit its policy on the Middle East, having learnt a bitter lesson from the seemingly insurmountable challenges confronted by them during the past 100 years on the back of Balfour declaration, the unholy right-wing alliance between Trump and Netanyahu seems to be responding to it with provocation and incitement. As a result the world is in a state of suspense as to its outcome.
Even long standing friends of the US like Germany, Canada, Japan and South Korea and NATO countries seem to be distancing themselves from their traditional ally thanks to some unilateral remarks of Trump.
Trump has already shown signs of reversing much touted liberal economic policies of America in the aftermath of crippling economic crises experienced by the country.
It is important to be vigilant as to what kind of impact the Trump’s America would have on countries like Sri Lanka.
Imithiaz Bakeer Markar -Co-chairman Sri Lanka Palestine Friendship Association
Courtesy: Daily News