News Analysis: U.S. sets off "ticking bomb" if recognizing Jerusalem as Israeli capital
2017-12-04 10:16:00

Palestinians say the U.S. will set off "ticking bomb" if it recognizes Jerusalem as Israel's capital and moves US embassy to Jerusalem. (AFP Photo)

GAZA, Dec. 3 -- The possibility that the United States may acknowledge Jerusalem as Israel's capital is a "ticking bomb" which will destroy the peace process in the Middle East, according to analysts.

Analysts and observers said that such a move would "completely eliminate" any remaining chances of efforts to resolve the decades-long Palestinian-Israeli conflict.

U.S. media reported this week that the U.S. President Donald Trump was considering recognizing Jerusalem as the capital of Israel and that he might announce the decision on Wednesday.

Trump pledged earlier to move the U.S. embassy to Jerusalem. He made the relocation promise during his election campaign, but has signed in June a six-month waiver to a 1995 U.S. law requiring the embassy be moved from Tel Aviv to Jerusalem.

Previous U.S. presidents have signed similar waivers to avoid escalation of tensions in the Middle East.

The Palestinian National Authority (PNA) warned that the U.S. recognition and the relocation of embassy are "dangerous to the future of the peace process and push the region into a square of instability."

Mohammed Daraghmeh, a Ramallah-based writer and political analyst, said the overwhelming reactions from Arab and Islamic countries, particularly Turkey, Jordan and Saudi Arabia, might delay Trump's announcement to some extent.

Daraghmeh stressed that such a decision was very dangerous, as it "imposes a pre-emptive stance on one of the most important ultimate questions of the Palestinian-Israeli conflict and the Arab-Israeli conflict."

He pointed out that such a decision represented a historic reversal in the U.S. position on the Arab-Israeli conflict.

The Palestinians want to make East Jerusalem the capital of their future independent state, while Israel declared the integral city of Jerusalem as its capital.

Israel has occupied East Jerusalem in 1967, a move that is not recognized by the international community.

The status of Jerusalem is one of the ultimate questions for the Palestinian-Israeli peace process, which was stalled since April 2014 following nine months of U.S.-sponsored talks without major progress.

Contrary to his pledge of continuing U.S. sponsorship for the peace process between the Palestinians and Israel, Trump has failed to announce any practical measures and even betrayed the traditional stance adopted by his predecessors on a two-state solution.

Abdel Nasser al-Najjar, a political analyst from Ramallah, said Trump was temporarily retreating from his promise of relocating the U.S. embassy as he intended to show his encouragement of moving forward the peace process.

"One year after Trump took the office, he has achieved little in this area. There are no secret or public negotiations between the Palestinians and the Israelis. Even his advisers' visits to the region have yielded nothing," said Najjar.

He went on saying that all data indicated that Trump's intention to move the embassy to Jerusalem or to recognize the city as the capital of Israel would be officially announced sooner or later.

Najjar noted that Trump, whose opinion polls showed unprecedented unpopularity compared with former U.S. presidents, "now needs to prove that he is a strategic and loyal ally of Israel to gain the support from the Zionist lobby to cover up his failure as a U.S. leader."

Minister of Foreign Affairs of the Palestinian National Authority (PNA) Riyad al-Maliki said that it had requested two emergency meetings of the Arab League and the Organization of Islamic Cooperation, with the participation of permanent representatives.

"Such meetings are important because they will discuss steps to be taken on this irresponsible U.S. action," said the minister. Editor:Nicky