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OpEdNews Op Eds    H3'ed 12/7/17

American Muslims reject Trump's move to recognize Jerusalem as capital of Israel

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Muslim Public Affairs Council [MPAC]

The Muslim Public Affairs Council (MPAC) said that President Trump's decision has derailed the peace process and it is a disaster for peace.

In a statement the MPAC said the U.S.'s role in the Middle East conflict is critical, but Trump has diminished American leadership not just in the peace process but in the entire Middle East. "Because of his misguided, uninformed decision, Trump can expect political unrest, stifled peace processes, and further limitations to freedom of religion and freedom of speech."

Trump's move eliminates the possibility of the U.S. acting as a peace-broker and overturns decades of U.S. policy towards the region, including a longstanding position that Israeli-Palestinian grievances must be resolved through negotiations, the MPAC said adding: Trump has reversed 70 years of international consensus and many global leaders believe that he derailed any peace initiative between the Israelis and Palestinians.

UNSC resolution 478 declared Israel's enactment of the 1980 Basic Jerusalem Law -- that proclaimed a unified Jerusalem as the "eternal and indivisible" capital of Israel -- as a violation of international law. In 2016, former Secretary of State John Kerry said the city "is the most sensitive issue for both sides" and suggested it be the "internationally recognized capital of the two states," the MPAC statement recalled.

A sacred site for Jews, Muslims, and Christians

Jerusalem is also a part of the Occupied Territories. Israelis moving into these territories is a violation of the Fourth Geneva Convention. Trump's recognition of the city as the capital of Israel will cause a sharp spike in unrest and conflict.

In recognizing Israeli settlements in and around Jerusalem as legitimate, the U.S. is now out-of-step with the rest of the international community who consider these settlements to be illegal.

This land has historical significance to all three Abrahamic faiths. Jerusalem is the de facto capital of the Holy Land for Jews, Muslims, and Christians. The U.S. is violating the religious freedom of Palestinians by recognizing the city as the capital of the Jewish state. Past Israeli attempts to add oversight to Jerusalem have sparked violence.

Domestic implications of Trump's recognition

To understand the reasoning behind this move, we must understand a segment of Trump's Christian evangelical base. Some evangelicals believe that the return of the Jews to Israel, and Jerusalem in particular, is a prerequisite for the Second Coming of Jesus.

According to a Pew Research Center poll, support for Israel is stronger among American evangelicals than it is even among American Jews. The poll found that 82 percent of white evangelicals think God gave Israel to the Jewish people. Less than half as many American Jews or American Catholics agree.

In a Bloomberg poll, almost 60 percent of evangelicals say the U.S. should support Israel even if its interests diverge with American interests. In recognizing Jerusalem as the capital of Israel, Trump is fulfilling a campaign promise to this constituency at the expense of American interests.

US Council of Muslim Organizations (USCMO)

The US Council of Muslim Organizations (USCMO), the largest coalition of national, regional, and local Muslim organizations, has vehemently opposed President Donald Trump's "unilateral and reckless declaration that the United States will recognize the Holy City of Jerusalem as the capital of Israel."

In a statement the USCMO denounced Trump's order to relocate the U.S. Embassy to Jerusalem as an unwise deviation from long-standing U.S. policy. "This move is a violation of the international status of the Holy City of Jerusalem and is considered by most U.S. allies and the international community as counterproductive to future peace settlement between Palestinians and Israelis."

The USCMO believes that President Trump's declaration is offensive and provocative not only to the 12 million Palestinian Christians and Muslims but also to the 1.8 billion Muslims worldwide.

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Author and journalist. Author of Islamic Pakistan: Illusions & Reality; Islam in the Post-Cold War Era; Islam & Modernism; Islam & Muslims in the Post-9/11 America. Currently working as free lance journalist. Executive Editor of American (more...)
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