Trump and the status of Jerusalem

Photograph: Lior Mizrahi/Getty Images

Photograph: Lior Mizrahi/Getty Images


Sir, – Mahmoud El-Yousseph (December 6th) opines that the “legal status of Jerusalem is defined by United Nations General Assembly Resolution 181”.

Unfortunately, he fails to mention that Resolution 181 was rejected en-bloc by the leaders of Arabs in the British Mandate of Palestine, by the Arab League and by every independent Arab state individually.

Nowadays moderate Arab leaders (such as Palestinian president Mahmoud Abbas) admit that the rejection of Resolution 181 has been a historic mistake.

I’d like to express hope that the Palestinian leaders and their supporters will not wait another 70 years before recognising that their knee-jerk rejection of US president Donald Trump’s recent statement is also a tragic mistake and yet another missed opportunity to make peace. – Yours, etc,



United Kingdom.

Sir, – In the ongoing tragedy that is the Israeli-Palestinian conflict there have been repeated assertions from the Israeli side that there can be no preconditions to any negotiated peace deal.

Yet with his announcement of the US recognition of Jerusalem as Israeli’s capital, without any recognition of Palestinian rights to East Jerusalem, further leverage has been taken from the Palestinian position. This decision and the ongoing illegal settlement building on the West Bank increasingly make any two-state solution untenable.

Thus we have a situation where explicit physical preconditions have been placed on the negotiations by Israel, highlighting the hypocrisy of its position, and undermining any claim to be an honest broker.

In addition, the news this week that Michael Flynn was actively trying to influence a UN resolution on illegal settlements, allegedly at the behest of the Trump transition team, undermines any sense of impartiality on the US side with Mr Trump at the helm.

How can any Palestinian look at the current situation with any sense of justice? This latest provocative move will embolden nationalist sentiment in Israel, further legitimising the concept of “Eretz Israel” favoured by extreme Zionists.

In parallel it plays into the hands of Islamist extremists, providing them with ample ammunition for the recruitment of disillusioned Palestinian youths.

Any hopes of restarting negotiations in the near-future now look bleak. – Yours, etc,




Sir, – Donald Trump’s decision to recognise Jerusalem as Israel’s capital is against international law, UN resolutions and the will of the international community.

Jerusalem is a Palestinian territory occupied by Israel since 1967.

Mr Trump’s decision will encourage Israel to carry on with its punitive policies towards the Palestinians and to impose demographic facts on the ground in order to change the nature of the city, which is against international law and the Geneva conventions.

The decision will also have a devastating impact on the peace process as East Jerusalem is supposed to become the capital of a future Palestinian state as part of a negotiated peace agreement. This also implies that the US can no longer be considered as an impartial peace-broker. – Yours, etc,