THE BATTLE OVER Jerusalem: Why President Trump's Official Recognition of Jerusalem as Israel's Capital Has Sparked So Much Debate

By Smith, Patricia | New York Times Upfront, January 29, 2018 | Go to article overview

THE BATTLE OVER Jerusalem: Why President Trump's Official Recognition of Jerusalem as Israel's Capital Has Sparked So Much Debate


Smith, Patricia, New York Times Upfront


Last month, President Trump officially recognized Jerusalem as the capital of Israel and said that the United States will move its embassy there from Tel Aviv. The announcement, which breaks with seven decades of American policy in the Middle East, prompted protests and violence across the Arab world. It also sparked criticism from many world leaders, who said it would further complicate the stalled peace process between Israel and the Palestinians. (The two sides have been in conflict since Israel's founding in 1948.) Here's what you need to know to understand the debate surrounding President Trump's announcement.

1 Why is Jerusalem such a flashpoint?

Jerusalem is sacred to three of the world's major religions: Judaism, Christianity, and Islam. The Old City of Jerusalem is home to some of the holiest sites in all three religions (see "A City Divided.," facing page).

For Christians, it's where Jesus was crucified around 30 a.d. For Jews, it's the spot where the Second Temple, which was destroyed in 70 a.d., once stood and where the only remnant of that temple--a wall that held up its foundation--still stands. For Muslims, it's where the Prophet Muhammad ascended to heaven in the 7th century.

Jerusalem's religious significance has long made the city the focus of conflict, whether between Christians and Muslims during the Crusades in the Middle Ages or more recently between Israelis and Palestinians.

"Jerusalem has been a sensitive political issue almost throughout modern history," says Anthony Cordesman, a Middle East expert at the Center for Strategic and International Studies in Washington, D.C.

Today, both Israel and the Palestinians claim the city as their political capital. Most Middle East analysts have long assumed that any eventual peace deal between the two sides would involve some way to share Jerusalem.

2 Why did President Trump recognize Jerusalem as Israel's capital?

Since 1948, it's been U.S. policy that the status of Jerusalem is a matter for negotiations between Israelis and Palestinians. Donald Trump wasn't the first presidential candidate to promise to recognize Jerusalem as Israel's capital and move the U.S. embassy there; Democrat Bill Clinton (president, 1993-2001) and Republican George W. Bush (president, 2001-09) did it too when they were campaigning. President Hump is, however, the first to follow through on that pledge once in office.

Hump says it's "the right thing to do" to acknowledge the reality that Jerusalem is the seat of Israel's government. Decades of avoiding that fact, he says, has done little to resolve the long-standing conflict between Israel and the Palestinians.

"It would be folly to assume that repeating the exact same formula would now produce a different or better result," Hump said in announcing his decision. Recognizing Jerusalem as Israel's capital, he added, is "a long overdue step to advance the peace process."

This issue is important to some of the conservative Jews and evangelical Christians who supported Trump in his run for the White House. (Many evangelicals are strong supporters of Israel because they believe Jewish possession of the Holy Land is necessary for Jesus's return.)

Secretary of State Rex Tillerson says it may take several years to carry out the embassy move. No other country currently has an embassy in Jerusalem, but Guatemala announced it will follow the U.S. and also move its embassy there. Several other countries, including Honduras, are reportedly considering the move as well.

3 What has the reaction been to Trump's announcement?

Most of the international community--including the United Nations, the European Union, and the Pope--condemned Hump's move. British Prime Minister Theresa May called it "unhelpful in terms of prospects for peace in the region."

Israel, on the other hand, cheered the announcement. "The Jewish people and the Jewish state will be forever grateful," said Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu. …

The rest of this article is only available to active members of Questia

Already a member? Log in now.

Notes for this article

Add a new note
If you are trying to select text to create highlights or citations, remember that you must now click or tap on the first word, and then click or tap on the last word.
One moment ...
Default project is now your active project.
Project items
Notes
Cite this article

Cited article

Style
Citations are available only to our active members.
Buy instant access to cite pages or passages in MLA 8, MLA 7, APA and Chicago citation styles.

(Einhorn, 1992, p. 25)

(Einhorn 25)

(Einhorn 25)

1. Lois J. Einhorn, Abraham Lincoln, the Orator: Penetrating the Lincoln Legend (Westport, CT: Greenwood Press, 1992), 25, http://www.questia.com/read/27419298.

Note: primary sources have slightly different requirements for citation. Please see these guidelines for more information.

Cited article

THE BATTLE OVER Jerusalem: Why President Trump's Official Recognition of Jerusalem as Israel's Capital Has Sparked So Much Debate
Settings

Settings

Typeface
Text size Smaller Larger Reset View mode
Search within

Search within this article

Look up

Look up a word

  • Dictionary
  • Thesaurus
Please submit a word or phrase above.
Print this page

Print this page

Why can't I print more than one page at a time?

Help
Full screen
Items saved from this article
  • Highlights & Notes
  • Citations
Some of your highlights are legacy items.

Highlights saved before July 30, 2012 will not be displayed on their respective source pages.

You can easily re-create the highlights by opening the book page or article, selecting the text, and clicking “Highlight.”

matching results for page

    Questia reader help

    How to highlight and cite specific passages

    1. Click or tap the first word you want to select.
    2. Click or tap the last word you want to select, and you’ll see everything in between get selected.
    3. You’ll then get a menu of options like creating a highlight or a citation from that passage of text.

    OK, got it!

    Cited passage

    Style
    Citations are available only to our active members.
    Buy instant access to cite pages or passages in MLA 8, MLA 7, APA and Chicago citation styles.

    "Portraying himself as an honest, ordinary person helped Lincoln identify with his audiences." (Einhorn, 1992, p. 25).

    "Portraying himself as an honest, ordinary person helped Lincoln identify with his audiences." (Einhorn 25)

    "Portraying himself as an honest, ordinary person helped Lincoln identify with his audiences." (Einhorn 25)

    "Portraying himself as an honest, ordinary person helped Lincoln identify with his audiences."1

    1. Lois J. Einhorn, Abraham Lincoln, the Orator: Penetrating the Lincoln Legend (Westport, CT: Greenwood Press, 1992), 25, http://www.questia.com/read/27419298.

    Cited passage

    Thanks for trying Questia!

    Please continue trying out our research tools, but please note, full functionality is available only to our active members.

    Your work will be lost once you leave this Web page.

    Buy instant access to save your work.

    Already a member? Log in now.

    Search by... Author
    Show... All Results Primary Sources Peer-reviewed

    Oops!

    An unknown error has occurred. Please click the button below to reload the page. If the problem persists, please try again in a little while.