The Status of Jerusalem and Global Diplomatic Re-orientations

Hisham ul Wahab P

The question of Palestine largely centered on the question of Jerusalem or Al Quds and its status quo. This Holy site of major three religions, such as Judaism, Christianity and Islam, has been known as a space of rivalry through out historical periods. The legitimacy and control over this site made huge battles among Muslims, Christians and Jews in various junctures of history. The emergence of Zionism in Europe made a great deal in the course of history with their direct intervention to create a Zionist state under the slogan of ‘A land without a people for a people without a land’. Even though Zionism emerged as a Secular ideology with a political agenda, they have been declared their convictions on the ancient Judaic traditions of ‘Greater Jerusalem’ and a ‘homeland for Jewish People’. Their support to the British Colonialism on the wake of the First World War and later tragic events of the Second World War especially Nazi Holocaust made a huge cry for the establishment of a Jewish state in the territories of Palestine. The site of Al Quds declared as a part of International Community under the United Nations. Since 1967, this site comes under the protection of Jordan Waqf under an agreement, in which Muslims can pray at Al Aqsa and Jews can only visit their holy places. Later the aggression of Israel towards East Jerusalem and various battles threatened the status of Al Quds and its Al Aqsa compound. The Israeli policies of gradual aggression and control of Al Aqsa area through surveillance and restrictions of people under age of 50 to enter the mosque premises led to large outrages in global scenario. In recent past, the move of Israel to shut down Al Aqsa compound for the first time since 1969 and to install new security measures at the Al Aqsa compound invited huge condemnation and protest across the world.

The latest move of the American President Donald Trump to recognize Jerusalem as the capital of Israel and announcement of shifting of the US embassy from Tel Aviv to Jerusalem made much controversy over the legitimacy of Israel and future of Palestinian people. This unprecedented move has invited a huge global condemnation amidst of Zionist appeasement. Ismail Haniyyah of Hamas declared ‘Third Intifada’ to restore the status of Jerusalem as the capital of Palestine. Hasan Nasrullah of Hizbullah referred it as the ‘Second Balfour declaration’ by the West to legitimize Zionist Israel after one century of occupation and colonialism. Turkish President Recep Tayip Erdogan declared Israel as a ‘Terrorist state’, while threatening to sever every diplomatic relations with the latter. The emergency meeting of Organisation of Islamic Cooperation (OIC) has approved East Jerusalem as the capital of Palestine. These active involvements to counter such a strident move of USA made an astounding unity and solidarity among the Muslim World and the supporters of Palestinian struggle.

The expressions of solidarity and support are on high demand in these times of trouble from internal and external arenas. We can see a large chunk of countries are standing with the Israeli colonialism and settlement regime. The regional interests and the influence of Jewish Lobby of the United States of America always supported Israel against every move from other countries and movements. The Boycott, Divestment and Sanctions (BDS) Movement is getting threats and challenges on daily basis to sustain economic interests of Israel. At the same time, the supporting countries of Palestine are also receiving an aggressive form of boycott in global level. The recent sanctions of major GCC countries and Egypt against Qatar since 5th June, 2017 can be seen as an example of this growing Zionist support. Saudi Arabia, Bahrain, United Arab Emirates and Egypt were severed the diplomatic relations with Qatar on the pretext of Qatar’s support to ‘Terrorism’ and Al Jazeera Channel and relations with Iran. The one of main accused Terrorist organization was Hamas, in which Qatar has supported them financially and diplomatic ways. Qatar’s support to the people of Gaza and Hamas is a part of their soft power strategy and they have their own stands on the Anti-Israel diplomacy. The same patterns of restrictions and sanctions can be analyzed in the matter of Iran, in which it has been portrayed as an adjacent danger and threat to the existence of Zionist Israel. Meanwhile Israel is the single country with Nuclear weapon in the whole West Asian region. Here the matter comes clear that when a country is acting against the interests of Israel and the American regional security, it would be treated as ‘Terrorist sympathizer and supporter’. At the same time, the terror which the USA and Israel have been creating in the West Asian region and Palestine never been questioned before the global community.

Israeli soldiers clash with Palestinians during a protest in the West Bank city of Hebron, following US President Donald Trump’s announcement that he recognized Jerusalem as the capital of Israel, on December 7, 2017. Photo by Wisam Hashlamoun/Flash90

We are witnessing a growing support of India to Israel and its colonial aspiration towards Palestine made tangible by the visit of Indian Prime Minister Narendra Modi to Tel Aviv. Regarding the Trump’s recognition, Raveesh Kumar, spokesman of India’s Ministry of External Affairs, said that “India’s position on Palestine is independent and consistent. It is shaped by our views and interests, and not determined by any third country”. This statement is carrying no strong argument for the betterment of Palestinians nor condemning the Zionist aspirations. Through out the decades, India has been supported the cause of Palestine and stood in solidarity with them in the face of Israeli occupation. The direct Indian support to Israel extended by the current ruling regime under Narendra Modi makes a drastic shift in the diplomatic orientation. Most recently, a week after Trump’s recognition, India, China and Russia refrained from recognizing East Palestine as the capital of Palestine. It obviously contrasts with the joint call of India with China and Russia in last year at Moscow, which calls for a “sovereign, independent, viable and united State of Palestine, with East Jerusalem as its capital”. The rise of Hindutwa forces in India would create a situation of keeping Zionist Israeli interests at best by excluding every aspirations of Palestinians from the table. Both ruling parties of India and Israel share common understanding over Islamophobia and anti-Muslim attacks are intensified under both regimes.

The long-lasting support of Turkey, Iran, Qatar and many others to the Palestinian people gives hope and confidence to the International Community. The recent upheavals of protests against Trump’s recognition across the world sustain the vigor of resistance and liberation of Palestine. As Hamid Dabashi argues “irrespective of being Muslim, for Palestinians at large, Haram al-Sharif (Al Aqsa) is also the symbolic summation of their homeland”. The status of Jerusalem would eventually determine the future of Palestinians across the globe and Israel attempts to occupy this territory with the recognition of super powers. The Hash-tag campaigns of solidarity like #JerusalemCapitalOfPalestine and #HandsOffAlQuds are carrying out by the supporters would help to spread the concern among the common people, despite witnessing a lack of interest from the statesmen. Hence, the people-oriented solidarity programs can achieve an indispensable strength for the Palestinian aspirations of statehood and self-determination, at a time of prompt global diplomatic re-orientations.

Hisham ul wahab P ,.Research Fellow, Centre for West Asian Studies, Jawaharlal Nehru University, New Delhi
hishamulwahab@gmail.com

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