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Weekly Session 12 - Recognition of Jerusalem as the Capital of Israel

Secretary Sun, 01/28/2018 - 17:47

Recognition of Jerusalem as the Capital of Israel

The Israeli-Palestinian conflict is a staple of our times; always ongoing, sometimes more and sometimes less noticeably. The existence of the State of Israel is not without controversy ever since its founding in 1948. Since then, Israel has fought several wars with its Arab neighbours. One of those, the Six Day War, initiated by a coalition of neighbouring Arab states, has led to Israel acquiring the control over the territories of Sinai, Gaza, West Bank of Jordan, and Golan Heights. While Sinai has been returned to Egypt, the remaining ones remain under Israeli occupation to this day.

The West Bank lies at the heart of the controversy. It is home to more than two million Palestinians, but some Israelis see it as the promised biblical Jewish homeland and move to an increasing number of Jewish settlements there. Jerusalem is an especially sensitive area. While it houses the political institutions of the State of Israel, the Palestinians see it as their capital too. That is why most states do not formally recognise it as Israeli capital and house their embassies in Tel Aviv.

The internationally most preferred two-state solution to the conflict which would lead to the creation of a Palestinian state next to the Israeli one is the officially the preferred one of both Israeli and Palestinian leadership. However, there are still many differences in what the implementation would look like, not least the fate of Jerusalem. The USA has traditionally been an honest broker in this conflict, and helped negotiate the Oslo Accords framework which chartered the way to a two-state solution by establishing an autonomous Palestinian Authority. However, the Palestinian Authority has full control over only a small proportion of West Bank and the two sides seem further away from each other than ever before. In addition, with Trump’s declaration of recognition of Jerusalem as Israeli capital, many on the Palestinian side feel like the US has given up its independent position opening up the question who is going to fill their shoes.