The Impacts of Trump’s Jerusalem Decision

by Aisha E. Al-Saqabi

A few weeks ago, Donald Trump, President of the United States formally recognized Jerusalem as the capital of Israel. This decision undoubtedly leads to major retaliation primarily from Palestinians and other Arabs.

Given that the United States is one of the world’s leading superpowers, showing bias in favour of a particular nation that has been involved in a decades-long conflict will unequivocally have serious repercussions within the international community, granted that the status of Jerusalem “goes to the heart of Israel’s conflict with the Palestinians”. [3]

To begin with, this decision has destroyed the hope or possibility of conducting peace-talks in the Middle East. [1] For several years, there have been talks of creating and maintaining a “two-state solution” [2] to satisfy both Palestine and Israel which might have, in some form resolved the Palestinian/Israeli conflict. Yet, the US’s official recognition in favour of Israel has completely diminished the likelihood of peace-talks and brought about the “demise of Washington’s claim to be serving as a credible peacemaker” [1], due to Trump’s overt support for the Israeli government.

To add on, this will largely irritate the Arab world and generate tension between the US and its major Arab allies. [2] Thus, damaging US interests and sabotaging its strong position within the region. [2]

Furthermore, the decision, as put by a Palestinian member of the Israeli parliament Yousef Jabareen, “legitimised the (Israeli) far-right’s argument that Israel can control all of Jerusalem by sheer force, by denying Palestinians their rights and by creating facts on the ground.” [1] Therefore, if in any way Trump’s decision was to justify the Israeli occupation of Palestine, the use of military might against the Palestinian people and the illegal settlements in Palestinian territory which are in violation of international law [4], then not only would he fuel the anger of extremist and terrorist groups such as ISIS but would also give them the “political ammunition to use against Israel” [2], which would in turn intensify the ever-growing tension within the region and introduce more threats.

Aside from the strong Arab condemnation of the decision, it has already received major opposition from the Palestinian people which was exhibited through major protests and will likely increase into other forms of mass civil disobedience, potentially even drift towards violence. [1] Especially since government ministers in Israel have drafted legislation to bring “West Bank settlements under Jerusalem municipal authority” [1] and have planned to “strip large numbers of Palestinians of their Israeli-issued Jerusalem residency papers because they live outside the separation wall Israel built through the city more than a decade ago.” [1]

While Trump’s decision has already generated friction in the region and provoked wide opposition, the largest consequence would be that it will shift a “long-standing national conflict into a more openly religious one” [1] due to his inadvertent support for Israel’s far-right movements that will move towards reaching the goal of establishing total Jewish supremacy in Jerusalem. [1] Moreover, politics professor Assad Ghanem noted that Trump’s decision is “likely to intensify the city’s religious symbolism for Jews – and the importance of Israeli sovereignty over al-Aqsa mosque compound” [1], which will undoubtedly lead to an increase of clashes between Palestinians and Israeli settlers.

To conclude, while it is important to be aware of the events unfolding in the international community and the parties involved, it is also very important to leave the generalizations aside and focus on the facts. It is worth keeping in mind that not all Israeli and/or Jewish people commend or support the Zionist movement and what it stands for. But, it is also worth remembering that the hundreds of thousands of Palestinians displaced, assaulted and killed by Zionist forces did not deserve their fate. So all in all, Trump’s decision will certainly significantly influence the Middle East, provoke major tensions and instigate political unrest.

[1] Cook, Jonathan. “How Will US Jerusalem Move Affect Israel’s Far Right?” Israel News | Al Jazeera, Al Jazeera, 10 Dec. 2017,

[2] Cordesmen, Anthony H. “The Strategic Impact of Making Jerusalem the Capital of Israel.” The Strategic Impact of Making Jerusalem the Capital of Israel | Center for Strategic and International Studies, Center for Strategic & International Studies, 12 Dec. 2017,

[3]  “Erdogan: World Should Recognise Jerusalem as Palestinian Capital.” BBC News, BBC, 13 Dec. 2017,

[4] Corey, Benjamin L.  “Yes, What Israel Is Doing To Palestinians Is Actually Genocide.” The Official Blog of Benjamin L. Corey, Patheos, 1 Mar. 2017,


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