The decision by Donald Trump to recognize Jerusalem as the capital of Israel not only violates several United Nations Security Council resolutions, but also desecrates 70 years of American policy in the Middle East. Trump’s decision, while pleasing to dubiously “Christian” fundamentalist sects and cults found mostly in poorly-educated rural pockets across the United States, flies in the face of authentic Christian denominations. These include Roman Catholic, Christian Orthodox, and mainstream Protestant churches.
Trump’s unwise diplomatic move was also in response to large political donations to his 2016 presidential campaign by deep-pocketed ultra-Zionists like casino mogul Sheldon Adelson, a backer of Israeli Prime Minister Binyamin Netanyahu.
Trump’s decision to reject any Palestinian claims over East Jerusalem as the capital of an independent Palestine has also exacerbated tensions in the Muslim world at the expense of US geopolitical and economic interests.
US Secretaries of State since George C. Marshall, including Dean Acheson, John Foster Dulles, Dean Rusk, William Rogers, Henry Kissinger, Cyrus Vance, Ed Muskie, Alexander Haig, George Schultz, James Baker, Warren Christopher, Madeleine Albright, Colin Powell, Condoleezza Rice, Hillary Clinton, and John Kerry, have opposed American recognition of Jerusalem as Israel’s capital.
Although current Secretary of State Rex Tillerson publicly complied with Trump’s decision to move the US embassy from Tel Aviv to Jerusalem, it is known that Tillerson no longer speaks on behalf of Trump’s White House in matters of foreign policy. It is inconceivable that Tillerson, the former chief executive officer of Exxon Mobil, a firm with major investments in Arab and Muslim countries, agreed with Trump’s decision on Jerusalem. Rather, Trump was guided in his decision by his son-in-law, Jared Kushner, Trump’s “special envoy” to the Middle East and a pro-Netanyahu Orthodox Jew. Complementing Kushner in pressuring Trump on Jerusalem were two other Israeli “agents-of-influence” inside the Trump administration, Jason Dov Greenblatt, a lawyer for the Trump Organization and a current Assistant to the President and Special Representative for International Negotiations, and David Friedman, one of Trump’s former bankruptcy lawyers and the current US ambassador to Israel. Greenblatt and Friedman, like Kushner, are rabid Zionists who support illegal Israeli settlements on the West Bank and east Jerusalem and wholeheartedly back Netanyahu.
In the past, even the most pro-Israeli members of Congress pushed only for non-binding resolutions affirming Congress’s wish to see the US recognize Jerusalem as Israel’s capital and move its embassy to the contested city from Tel Aviv. This was done to please the Israel Lobby in the United States, most notably, the American Israel Public Affairs Committee (AIPAC) and the more powerful Conference of Presidents of Major Jewish Organizations. Given the choice between upsetting US diplomacy in the Middle East and guaranteeing a steady flow of campaign cash from wealthy Jewish political donors, Congress took the middle course between non-binding resolutions on Jerusalem and outright interfering in the Middle East initiatives of presidents from Harry S Truman to Barack Obama.
Trump’s Jerusalem diktat has already frayed US relations with countries having religious stakes in Jerusalem, interests that are constantly threatened by increasing Jewish aggressive behavior toward Christian and Muslim institutions in Jerusalem, its suburbs, and throughout the West Bank. America’s relations with the Vatican, the Coptic Pontificate, the Greek and Russian Orthodox and Assyrian patriarchies, and the World Council of Churches have hit an all-time low. Trump believes that Christianity is only represented by hucksters wearing expensive suits who preach “prosperity theology” and smack members of their congregations with their hands to cure everything from smoking habits to leukemia. These purveyors of religious nonsense believe that when Trump recognized Jerusalem as Israel’s capital, the “end times” are near.
Israeli intransigence on Jerusalem was the key hurdle described in a formerly Secret Central Intelligence Agency report dated January 15, 1971, and titled, “Jerusalem: An Issue Without Prospects.” The CIA pointed out that the Israelis were undertaking several actions in east Jerusalem, which Israel occupied during the 1967 Arab-Israeli War, to make Israeli control “irreversible.” The CIA pointed out that UN mediator Count Folke Bernadotte of Sweden recommended in 1948 that Jerusalem be incorporated into Arab territory with “municipal rights for the Jewish community and special arrangements for the protection of the holy places.” Bernadotte’s proposal was met with his assassination by Jewish terrorists, individuals who are today praised as heroes by the Israeli government.
The UN also sought to neutralize Jerusalem and govern it as an international city. This, too, was rejected by Israel and powerful Jewish lobbies in New York, London, Canberra, and elsewhere. Israel’s intention has always been to incorporate all of Jerusalem into the Israeli state without guarantees for Christian and Muslim holy places or the worshipers of both religions. In 1950, Israel proclaimed the “New City” of Jerusalem its capital. Most countries, including the United States, refused to recognize the Israeli proclamation.
After seizing east Jerusalem in the 1967 war, Israel’s first act was to dissolve the Arab City Council of Jerusalem. This was the first major act toward the Judaification of the entire city.
A July 1969 UN Security Council resolution condemned Israeli confiscation and demolition of properties near the Dome of the Rock. The United States voted for the resolution. Ever since, Israel has flouted UN resolution after resolution by confiscating additional Arab land and demolishing Arab structures. In 1970, Israeli Prime Minister Golda Meir declared that Israel would never cede control over unified Jerusalem.
Israel forced the Arab population of east Jerusalem to pay taxes even though Jewish “lebensraum” policies did not recognize the Arab population of Jerusalem as Israeli citizens. This “taxation without representation” has contributed to the establishment of a de facto apartheid state in Jerusalem and the West Bank. Arab businessmen in east Jerusalem were faced with a choice: pay Israeli taxes or lose Israeli business licenses and be shut down. Taxation coercion by the Jewish state became the rule in east Jerusalem and the occupied West Bank and Gaza Strip.
King Faisal of Saudi Arabia, perhaps the only Saudi king who never agreed to consort with the Israelis or their international Zionist backers, proclaimed that in addition to being the “guardian” of the Islamic holy paces of Mecca and Medina, he was also the guardian of Islamic holy places in Jerusalem. In 1975, Faisal was assassinated by his nephew, Faisal bin Musaid bin Abdulaziz Al Saud, during a royal audience in Riyadh. It was later discovered that the assassin had been selling and using LSD while attending the University of Colorado, maintained a relationship with a pro-Israeli girlfriend, and made an unusual visit to East Germany before returning to Saudi Arabia to assassinate King Faisal. There were suspicions that either the CIA or Mossad employed mind-control techniques on Faisal bin Musaid to program him to assassinate King Faisal. It was clear that two opponents of Israeli control of Jerusalem – Count Bernadotte and King Faisal – were assassinated and Israel was implicated in both murders.
The Trump administration, in recognizing Israel’s sovereignty over all of Jerusalem, has rewarded past Israeli war crimes, including confiscation of land, forced removal of populations, and even assassinations of foreign officials. However, nothing else should be expected from an administration that continuously tramples on US constitutional and international law on a daily basis.