The opening of the American Embassy on 14 May in Israel’s capital – Jerusalem – should be replicated by fellow-democracies France, Germany and The United Kingdom (“the Democratic Trio”) without delay.
President Trump’s policy on Jerusalem was set out by him on 6 December 2017 (“the Trump Declaration”):
“STATUS OF JERUSALEM: President Trump recognises that specific boundaries of sovereignty in Jerusalem is highly sensitive and subject to final status negotiations.
President Trump recognises that the status of Jerusalem is a highly sensitive issue, but he does not think the peace process is aided by ignoring the simple truth that Jerusalem is home to Israel’s legislature, supreme court, President, and Prime Minister.
President Trump recognises that the specific boundaries of Israeli sovereignty in Jerusalem are subject to final status negotiations between the parties.
President Trump reaffirms United States support for the status quo at the Temple Mount, also known as Haram al Sharif.”This policy should be perfectly acceptable to the Democratic Trio – yet they have so far baulked at following Trump’s principled stance.
French President Emmanuel Macron has adopted the following position:
“The status of Jerusalem is a question of international security that concerns the entire international community. The status of Jerusalem must be determined by Israelis and Palestinians in the framework of negotiations under the auspices of the United Nations”Waiting for these stars to align is like hoping to win the lottery.The Trump Declaration provides sufficient guarantees to ensure that should Macron’s wish-list ever eventuate – the United Nations will be sufficiently seized of the situation to ensure the status of Jerusalem is finally determined between Arabs and Jews.
Refusing to move the French Embassy to Israel’s designated capital now – whilst negotiations to determine Jerusalem’s future have been suspended by the Palestine Liberation Organisation since April 2014 – is bowing to the dictates and diplomatic blackmail of an illegal and undemocratic entity.
France – a bastion of democracy – is being incredibly naïve in not following in the footsteps of the Trump Declaration.
German Chancellor Angela Merkel has issued a public statement assuring Germany will not relocate its embassy from Tel Aviv to Jerusalem:
“We have to work for the two-state solution, and according to that, the status of Jerusalem should be clarified.”The “two-state solution” has been the subject of unsuccessful negotiations for the last 25 years.
East Jerusalem was never suggested or declared as the capital of Jordan or another independent Arab state during the years between 1948 and 1967 when East Jerusalem was:
All Jews living there were forcibly expelled from their homes;
Centuries-old synagogues and Jewish cemeteries were desecrated and destroyed;
Jews were denied access to their remaining holy sitesMerkel needs to reject this dark period in Jerusalem’s history by adopting the reality expressed in the Trump Declaration.
Britain’s prime minister Theresa May has stated:
“We disagree with the US decision to move its embassy to Jerusalem and recognise Jerusalem as the Israeli capital before a final status agreement. The British Embassy to Israel is based in Tel Aviv, and we have no plans to move”Moving the United Kingdom’s Embassy to West Jerusalem on the identical basis enunciated by Trump will not prejudice future negotiations between Jews and Arabs to resolve East Jerusalem’s final status.
France, Germany and the United Kingdom need to get on the Trump bandwagon and move their Embassies to Israel’s declared capital – Jerusalem – following their own worldwide well-established diplomatic practices and precedents.
Disagreements between democracies play into the hands of unelected and unaccountable regimes.Bowing to these regimes’ unjust and unreasonable demands is a sure-fire recipe for disaster.
(Author’s note: The cartoon – commissioned exclusively for this article—is by Yaakov Kirschen aka “Dry Bones”- one of Israel’s foremost political and social commentators – whose cartoons have graced the columns of Israeli and international media publications for decades. His cartoons can be viewed here)