(ANTIMEDIA Op-ed) — Despite an embarrassing defeat at the U.N. last year, the Trump administration is, indeed, moving the U.S. embassy in Israel to Jerusalem, signaling that the U.S. will recognize the city as Israel’s capital from now on. The official date for the planned embassy move is reportedly May 14, 2018, set to coincide with Israel’s date of independence, May 14, 1948.
According to Donald Trump, this planned move will actually help bolster the Middle East peace process. He claimed Monday that taking the Jerusalem issue “off the table” will boost his efforts.
“The Palestinians I think are wanting to come back to the table very badly,” Trump said, as quoted by the Guardian.
“If they don’t, you don’t have peace, and that’s a possibility also. I’m not saying it’s going to happen. Everybody said this is the hardest deal to make of any deal.”
Whether President Trump is genuine, misinformed, or ill-advised is not clear, but there is a strong likelihood that his proposed embassy move on May 14 will be one of the most catastrophic events to rock the Middle East this year. The Palestinian people observe Nakba Day (which literally means “catastrophe”) every year on May 15, the day after Israel’s independence day and, eerily, the day after Donald Trump’s proposed embassy switch. For the Palestinian people, May 15 is the day that symbolizes the expulsion of hundreds of thousands of Palestinians from their ancestral homes, and it is often rife with emotion, hatred, and anger.
“They deliberately chose a tragic day in Palestinian history, the Nakba, as an act of gratuitous cruelty adding insult to injury,” a senior Palestinian official, Hanan Ashrawi, wrote on Twitter.
According to the Times of Israel, protests are already being planned on social networks, most likely including marches toward the border fence in Gaza.
Hamas immediately warned “that this will be the trigger which would detonate the whole area in the face of the Israeli occupation,” the Los Angeles Times reported.
Since the embassy announcement was first made, there have already been heavy clashes between Israeli forces and Palestinian protesters, with at least 13 Palestinians already killed. Even the Times of Israel acknowledged that the “the longer the hardship in Gaza continues to intensify, so will the motivation to join such marches.”
For the people of Gaza, Trump’s embassy move is the backhanded icing on an already volatile cake. The Gaza strip has been struggling without basic electricity for an extended time now, as its electricity supply has been restricted to a mere three or four hours per day. Israel also famously destroyed Gaza’s only power plant in 2014. Ninety-seven percent of Gaza’s water has been contaminated by sewage and salt.
The last thing the Palestinian people need is for the U.S. to unilaterally deprive them of their claims to Jerusalem considering the Palestinians have already claimed the eastern part of as the capital of their future independent state.