Jerusalem Recognized as the Capital of Israel


Allison Kowal-Safron, Staff Writer

On the Wednesday of December 5th, 2017, President Donald Trump officially recognized Jerusalem as the capital of Israel. Several past presidents have tried to do this, but never have due to serious controversy. However, having promised to move the embassy to Jerusalem from Tel Aviv, Donald Trump seemed desperate to check something off of his campaign promises after a very critical first year as president, and he accomplished this feat. President Trump showed no sign of reluctance through this move, despite the controversy surrounding it and the possibility of an international stir created by this decision. This latest move makes the United States the first country to officially recognize Jerusalem, Israel’s holy city, as the country’s capital.

There has been an ongoing conflict—mainly over land control—between the Israelis and the Palestinians throughout Israel since the mid-1900s, known as the Israeli-Palestinian Conflict. In June of 1967, an event remembered as the Six-Day War left the territories of Palestine under Israeli occupation. This ruined millions of Palestinians’ lives, and the Palestinians have yet to make peace with the Israelis. Currently, Palestinians want to establish their own sovereign state, with the same land they had previously under their control. However, Israel, particularly Jerusalem, is not ready to give up this land, which is why there is so much fighting occurring between the two groups.

Additionally, there is an area of land in Israel called the West Bank, which serves as a home to over 2.5 million Palestinians. Jerusalem is the border between the West Bank and Israel. As mentioned, Jerusalem is the holy city of Israel, which creates tension between both Palestinians and Israelis because they both want the city to serve as their respective capitals. However, Israel currently claims that Jerusalem is its own capital and not Palestine’s. The two groups are slowly and not so surely making headway in attempts at making any sort of peace deal, which is why Trump recognizing Jerusalem as the capital of Israel with no mention of Palestine is such a big deal in the Middle East. This move has the potential to greatly influence future peace negotiations, as well as the entire country of Israel. Violence is not out of the question.

As Palestine works to secure its old land and create a new independent state, it believes that it deserves Jerusalem, a key religious site, as its future capital. However, Donald Trump has interfered in this and has given Israel a sort of “one-up,” infuriating the Palestinians while Israel spent the morning of December 6th praising Donald Trump, whose recognition contradicts past beliefs of U.S. Administrations that a neutral state over the issue is best for the country. Many see President Trump’s recent endeavor as a sort of power move for the U.S. They see it as Trump trying to have the United States’ power recognized on a global scale after a rough year. In any case, by the U.S. being the first country to recognize Jerusalem as the capital of Israel, Trump is hoping that many other foreign nations will follow in his footsteps and give support to Israel. However, his act may create a great upheaval in the already unstable tensions between Israel and Palestine, which is why many Americans not only see the idea of recognizing Jerusalem as Israel’s capital as a bad one, but also share the same thought with a majority of the Middle East and several U.S. allies, including the European nations of Britain, France, and Germany.

These nations believe that the only way to resolve the Israeli-Palestinian Conflict is through the use of peace negotiations. While many past U.S. presidents have tried to allow negotiations to solve this problem, Donald Trump believes that he has the ability to fix this Middle Eastern conflict and help to make a wonderful peace deal that will allow each respective group to prosper. However, historians believe it is more likely that his move will continue to divide the two groups further and further as tensions escalate. So, where will Jerusalem end up? Will it be the capital of the State of Israel, will it be the capital of the future State of Palestine, or will it remain as what many countries recognize as both? Only time will tell.