US move on Jerusalem creates chaos that may backfire
Today's United States is casting itself as a disruptor of current world order it has maintained and a troublemaker against peace, this time by shaking the very foundation of peace around Jerusalem.
US President Donald Trump felt assured of himself as he announced: "I have determined that it is time to officially recognize Jerusalem as the capital of Israel." In the Trump-styled tweet, he said: "I am also directing the State Department to begin preparation to move the American Embassy from Tel Aviv to Jerusalem."
The social media star succeeds again in winning eyeballs by boldly "delivering" his campaign promise and wooing pro-Israel political constituencies and mega military-industrial complexes, but his "recognition of reality" is only half true because the Jerusalem Embassy Act calling for moving the US embassy to Jerusalem passed by US Congress in 1995 was pitching Israel against and at the cost of Palestine.
Unlike what Trump backers said "Jerusalem has been, and always will be, the eternal, undivided capital of the State of Israel," Jerusalem itself remains divided and contended for as the capital of Israel and/or of Palestine.
Since that controversy lies at the heart of Middle East conflicts, Trump's words immediately went pale in saying "we are not taking a position of any final status issues, including the specific boundaries of the Israeli sovereignty in Jerusalem or the resolution of contested borders". His action takes sides even if his lips are shown differently.
The White House did state the US still upholds the two-nation- status of both Israel and Palestine; but the statement turns hypocritical and blows in the air because it is uprooting the base of talks for Middle East peace and can hardly persuade their allies into believing it.
Instead of being a step "to advance the peace process and to work towards a lasting agreement", the move is igniting anger, fueling hatred, worsening division and disrupting any peace process as evidenced by reactions from Middle East countries, except Israel, and from other parts of the Islam world. Those sentiments will not ease easily on US lip service.
Those concerns explain why Bill Clinton, George W. Bush and Barack Obama had put the US on the right track in the Middle East by not doing what Trump just did. Instead of being their failure as Trump declared, the "long step overdue" was out of political wisdom to meet with commitments not only to Israel, but also to Palestine and the United Nations.
It seems the US and Israel often speak of their military might, but throughout Jerusalem's 5,000 years of history, force has yielded only temporary but unwilling acceptance of power, but never “lasting peace” in the region. The legends of King David himself are proof against simple might which left Jerusalem neither as a haven of peace as meant in Hebrew, nor in wholeness and soundness as the word’s root intended.
To promote peaceful talks, the United Nations has for many times urged respect for the historic status quo at the holy places of Jerusalem and so did the General Assembly in its six resolutions on November 30 while concluding its annual debate on Palestine and the Middle East. The assembly "further stressed the need for the parties to refrain from provocative actions, especially in areas of religious and cultural sensitivity," but the US, which voted against the resolutions, simply did the opposite.
It is not the first time the US goes its own way in disregard of the UN though the US has long been believed to be an upholder of UN Charter it helped create. By launching an attack on Iraq, the US tramped on its own role as a guardian of post-war world order, and sent humanity into tears and bloodshed and deaths.
It is great for Trump to make America Great Again, but not at the cost of the interests of others and the international community. People are often counting on benefiting from US prosperity and power, not on sufferings produced by US aircraft bombings and by Made-in-US financial crisis.
The world community has just been able to remove one of the most inhumane groups ISIS out of its last strongholds in Syria and Iraq. It is only reasonable for nations to start reconstruction of the devastated homeland and negotiations on settling disputes on land, rivers and air space, not to fuel divisions and make troubles.
By applying his virtual macho screenplay onto the real world, Trump is dividing the US and the world further. His orders against other ethnic groups and nations are hurting many in and out of the US; his disrespect for US pledges on climate change is disrupting world progress; his verbal vow of destroying another nation at the very heart of the UN platform of peace building is against principles of the UN Charter.
At a time when bombings and shootings turn millions into refugees and children into breathing or cold skeletons and climate change jeopardizes normal life throughout Earth, we peoples in the world do not need more division, disruption and destruction out of outdated ideology of civilizational confrontation and dominance upon all others.
The rejection of US decision by most other nations of the world and the widespread dejection are a definite no to such zero-sum gaming and Cold-War mentality.
Mutual respect, win-win cooperation, joint construction, and shared benefits, as proposed and illuminated by Chinese President Xi Jinping repeatedly, are in dire need in today’s world.
If the US goes on pursuing self-centered deal-making at the cost of others' interests and world order, it will "strike one's own feet with a self-lifted stone" as a Chinese saying goes, meaning it will damage itself and bring its own destruction, possibly as dramatically as in popular US show-making.
The author is a senior writer with China Daily Asia Pacific. firstname.lastname@example.org