Statement on the recognition of Jerusalem as capital of Israel by the President of the United States
The working group on Middle East of the Party of the European Left strongly condemns the recognition by the President of the United States, Donald Trump, of Jerusalem as Israel’s capital, and the possible transfer of the US Embassy.
The special regime of the city, the East part of which is occupied territory, is sanctioned in a number of UN resolutions, from 1947 to today (among others: 181/1947, 194/1948, 252/1968, 476/1980, 478/1980).
In accordance with UN resolutions the European Left supports the demand of the Palestinian people for a just peace: establishing a viable Palestinian state in the West Bank on the 1967 borders and with East Jerusalem as its capital and the right of return of Palestinian refugees alongside with Israel as a viable state as stipulated by the UN General Assembly resolution 194. The recognition of the Palestinian state by as many countries and institutions as possible is an important step in that direction.
Likewise the European Left supports increasing the political pressure on the Israeli government to stop and reverse the settlement policy and for a total withdrawal from the occupied Palestinian territories.
The US recognition of Jerusalem as the capital of Israel has led to increasing violence and repression by the Israeli military and a deepening conflict between the Palestinian and Israeli population.
At least 31 people in the West Bank and Gaza were wounded by sharp shots and rubber bullets, when the Israeli military opened fire against Palestinian protestors in several cities in the Palestinian areas right after the US recognition.
Whereas the Palestinian President Mahmoud Abbas was calling for demonstrations and “A Day of Anger” as a response to Trump’s recognition, the protests actually seem to have been less than expected, which should be seen on the background of the increasing heavy security measures and control by the Israeli military in the West Bank. A great number of Palestinian youths have been arbitrarily arrested by the Israeli military in order to prevent increasing protests.
It is also expected that some in Gaza will react by sending missiles into Israel, which might trigger massive Israeli military retaliation. A new war in Gaza is therefore threatening. And with this and a tightening of the blockade of Gaza, further deterioration of living conditions for residents will undoubtedly be a reality.
Trump's recognition of Jerusalem as the capital of Israel is a clear manifestation that the US is on the side of Israel in the conflict, who can now do what they want with Jerusalem and in the West Bank. Israeli expansion in the West Bank has now received a blue stamp, which opens up further destruction of Palestinian houses to make way for more and larger Israeli settlements.
The US finally shows a pure flag and has left its role as the impartial broker in the Israel/Palestine conflict and has destroyed the Oslo Process.
Support from the Arab countries and the Arab League remains rhetorical as the major countries, Saudi Arabia and Egypt, would rather nurture their alliance with the United States than support the Palestinians.
With this situation, we call on the international community to take immediate initiatives to re-launch the peace process, in the context of UN and international law decisions.
A just solution to the Palestinian/Israeli conflict is a key to begin dismantling the conflicts in the Middle East and Arab region. We commit ourselves to lasting action to promote peace in the Middle East. It is imperative to return to finding a political solution.
As European Left parties, we are therefore committed to exert strong pressure on the EU and the member state governments, when possible in cooperation with the European Parliament, to promote initiatives at national and at European Union level to promote a viable solution to the Palestinian issue in accordance with the UN resolutions.
To obtain a total withdrawal from the occupied territories the European Left recommends:
- suspension of the EU association agreement with Israel, including the preferential trade agreement, as long as Israel violates international human rights;
- a stop of special Israeli relation to NATO, including a closure of the permanent mission at NATO headquarters;
- banning of goods from the occupied areas;
- end the criminalization of BDS-activists.
Jerusalem is a place of worship and a holy site for three monotheistic religions; therefore, Jerusalem could and should exist as a symbol of peace and cooperation for the region’s peoples.