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“This is nothing more than the recognition of reality.” With those words, the president of the United States, Donald Trump, justified Wednesday his decision to officially consider Jerusalem as the capital of Israel and to start the transfer of the US embassy from Tel Aviv to the so-called Holy City.
The US president justified the measure with the argument that Jerusalem is the current headquarters of the public authorities of Israel and that, even there, all the American leaders have come to meet with their Israeli counterparts.
But that situation is in fact something whose legitimacy was not recognized by any country. Only Russia had indicated this year that it saw West Jerusalem as the capital of Israel and East Jerusalem as the future Palestinian State.
Trump also requested to maintain the status quo in relation to the holy sites of Jerusalem and ratified his government’s commitment to the peace process between Israelis and Palestinians, as well as his commitment to support a two-state solution, should that be the case. what the parties agree.
However, s u decision generated strong criticism , not only from countries in the Arab-Muslim world but also of the European Union and the UN.
BBC Mundo tells you about three of the probable consequences of the announcements made by the president of the United States.
1.- A wave of protests
When at the beginning of this week Donald Trump made a series of contacts with the leaders of different countries to tell them about the decision he had planned to take on Jerusalem, numerous voices were raised about the unrest that such a measure could generate among the Arab population. Muslim
On Tuesday afternoon, a group of Palestinian nationalist organizations and Islamist groups issued a joint statement calling for three days of “popular anger” to protest in the Palestinian territories, as well as demonstrations before US embassies and consulates around the world. .
Those demonstrations began to take place peacefully on Wednesday, even before the US decision became official, in the Palestinian territories themselves and in the Palestinian refugee camps in Lebanon.
Then, they began to be replicated in cities such as Ankara, where there was a protest in front of the US embassy, and in Amman, where there were street demonstrations against the United States and Israel.
But the protests can increase significantly from this Thursday, because when Trump delivered his speech was already night in the Middle East.
“This decision opens the gates of hell for the interests of the United States in the region ,” Ismail Radwan, a spokesman for the Palestinian Hamas movement in the Gaza Strip, told reporters after the US decision was made official.
A few hours later, all Palestinian groups called for a general strike on Thursday, with mass mobilizations.
Beyond the condemnation of the US decision, the Iranian government warned of the risks of a “new intifada”.
“The provocative and senseless US decision will incite Muslims and will inflame a new intifada and an escalation of radical, violent and angry behavior,” the Iranian Foreign Ministry said on its website.
2.- Weakening of the Arab-Israeli peace process
Despite repeated mentions made by Trump during his speech about his commitment to the peace process between Arabs and Israelis, the decision on Jerusalem may affect Washington’s role in the negotiations.
The president of the Palestinian National Authority, Mahmoud Abbas, criticized the announcement of the US president and pointed out that “it is equivalent to the United States renouncing its role as peace mediator”.
“This means a demolition of all the efforts that have been made to achieve peace,” Abbas said in a televised speech.
Reaching a definitive agreement between Arabs and Israelis is one of the foreign policy objectives that since Trump came to the White House, who put his son-in-law Jared Kushner at the forefront of those efforts.
Shibley Telhami, senior researcher at the Center for Middle East Policy at the Brookings Institution, warned that Trump’s decision on Jerusalem could force the Palestinian president to abandon the peace talks .
“Even if Trump could get Abbas to swallow the play, the influence that Abbas would have to spend to maintain a certain degree of legitimacy among the Palestinians will inevitably come at the expense of his ability to convince them to accept any agreement that Trump offers,” Telhami warned. an analysis published last Tuesday.
3.- Crisis on the front against Iran
Telhami warned that the decision to recognize Jerusalem as the capital of Israel goes against some of the objectives that the US government has set to confront the growing influence of Iran and fight against Islamist groups.
“Jerusalem is the perfect issue that Iran and Islamist militants can use to mobilize support against the United States and those who support its policies,” he wrote.
The advances that Tehran reached in recent years in its nuclear program generated great concern both in Israel and among the Arab Sunni Gulf countries, which coincided in their opposition to the agreement with the Iranians backed by the government of Barack Obama.
This process ended up promoting a rapprochement between Saudi Arabia and Israel, countries that began to exchange intelligence information. Something unpublished until now.
“With President Trump there is an opportunity for a new international alliance in the region and for a great strategic plan to stop the Iranian threat,” Israeli Defense Forces Chief of Staff Gadi Eisenkot said in mid-November. in an unusual interview published by a Saudi newspaper.
However, the decision on Jerusalem could cause noise in this diplomatic approach.
“If Trump had distinguished between East Jerusalem and West Jerusalem, it could have given some room for maneuver to Arab countries, such as Saudi Arabia and the United Arab Emirates, which have been analyzing the possibility of building a new relationship with Israel , but not He did, “said Hussein Ibish, senior researcher at the Arab Gulf States Institute, based in Washington, in an interview with the BBC.
The impact may be even greater because it could also affect the links between Turkey and Israel, two traditional US allies in the region.
Last Tuesday, Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan warned that recognition of the capital status of Jerusalem by the United States was a “red line” for Muslims and affirmed that if that happened his answer “could even reach the rupture of diplomatic relations with Israel. ”
Turkey is an important ally for Washington in the fight against the self-styled Islamic State.
But Trump’s decision is not only opposed by the US allies in the Arab-Muslim world.
Next Friday the UN Security Council will hold an emergency meeting to discuss this issue: the meeting was called by eight of the 15 members of that body, including the United Kingdom, France, Sweden, Italy and Egypt.