The most fraught conflict on in the world for 70 years hasjust taken a turn for the worse.Last Wednesday, US President Donald Trump announced his decisionto relocate his country’s embassy from Tel Aviv to Jerusalem.It effectively means the US now regards Jerusalem as Israel’scapital and signifies the denial of the last vestiges of Palestiniansovereignty over the city which is holy to Jews, Muslims and Christians. The announcement triggered waves of violent protests in the acrossthe world, not only in occupied Palestine, Arab and Muslim-majority countries, butalso across Europe and the rest of the world.
Four Palestinians in Gaza have been killed so fair – two by airstrikes and two who were shot dead while scores have been injured. At the crux of the rage is the 144,000 sq metre compound,known to Muslims as ‘Haram al Sharif’ (Noble Sanctuary) and Temple Mount by theJews.It comprises the silver domed Al Aqsa Mosque at the southernend, the gilded Dome of the Rock in the middle of the sanctuary and all otherstructures within the four walls of the area.The original walls are believed to have been built aroundthe summit of Mount Moriah – the place where Abraham was tested to offer his onlyson, Isaac, as a sacrifice to God.The ‘Haram al Sharif’ is Islam’s third holiest site after Meccaand Medina. The Dome of the Rock was built after the Muslim conquest of Jerusalemin the 7th century.
This is the place which has been a constant flashpoint inthe Israeli-Palestinian conflict.The Palestinians want occupied East Jerusalem as the capitalof a state which they want to establish with the West Bank and Gaza but Israel regardsall of Jerusalem as its capital although the rest of the world does not.Before the state of Israel was established in 1947, the UnitedNations ruled that the city would be a ‘corpus separatum’ (separate body) undera special international regime.For seven decades the US has, albeit often reluctantly, gonealong with the international community and international law on the position ofJerusalem.The world did not recognise Israel’s conquest of WestJerusalem during the 1948 Arab-Israeli War nor Jordan’s annexation of EastJerusalem two years later. Even after Israel occupied East Jerusalem after the Six-Day Warin 1967 along with the West Bank and Gaza in 1967 and Israel’s Knesset passed alaw in 1980 claiming that ‘Jerusalem, complete and united, is the capital ofIsrael,’ its status remained unchanged.United Nations Security Council declared the latter move’null and void’.