As we wind down 2017, a number of important actions happened in December. For example, President Trump and the Republicans passed an abominable tax plan designed to further enrich the wealthy, the Federal Communications Commission eliminated net neutrality, and Trump recognized Jerusalem as Israel’s capital.
The media provided a lot of coverage to Trump’s unnecessary and unilateral decision to recognize Jerusalem as Israel’s capital. The world community overwhelmingly rejected this decision. The U.N. General Assembly called on the U.S. to withdraw its recognition by a vote of 128 to 9. Demonstrating the lack of support for the U.S. position, the nine nations voting for it were Israel, the United States, Micronesia, Marshall Islands, Nauru, Palau, Togo, Honduras and Guatemala.
Under the problematic Palestine partition plan proposed in 1947, Israeli and Palestinian states were to be created and Jerusalem was to be under an international trusteeship. No nation was to have sovereignty over Jerusalem. After the 1948 fighting, Israel took control of West Jerusalem and Jordan took control of East Jerusalem. After Israel’s 1967 attack started the Six-Day War, Israel captured Palestinian East Jerusalem and formally illegally annexed it in 1980.
Trump’s recognition demonstrated that the U.S. cannot be an honest broker in any future peace negotiations. In reality, it is questionable whether the U.S. was an honest broker during the past quarter century. In addition, by his recognition, Trump poured gasoline on an extremely combustible situation and further inflamed Arab and Muslim opinion against the U.S.
Meanwhile, outside the media spotlight, Israel continues committing war crimes against Palestinians with its (and Egypt’s) continuing illegal seizure of Gaza and with the forced population transfers in the occupied West Bank. In 2012, the U.N. said that Gaza would be unlivable by 2020. This past July, Robert Piper, the U.N. coordinator for Humanitarian Aid and Development Activities in the Occupied Palestine Territories, said Gaza is effectively unlivable now.
In the West Bank, Israel continues its illegal forcible transfer of Palestinians from their homes in part of the Jordan Valley and near the large illegal Israeli city of Ma’ale Adumim. According to B’Tselem, an Israeli human rights group, “It seems that Israel is so confident in its ability to expel entire villages without incurring judicial or international criticism that it is no longer bothering to create even the illusion of legal proceedings.” B’Tselem also pointed out that the forcible transfer of a protected population amounts to a war crime.
Unfortunately, Israel is likely to continue its crimes against Palestinians in 2018 with impunity due to U.S. political protection. To help change this situation, support the Boycott, Divestment and Sanctions (BDS) movement ( bdsmovement.net) against Israeli oppression of Palestinians.
The Rocky Mountain Peace and Justice Center’s “Peace Train” runs every Friday in the Colorado Daily.