IUSY-YES joint statement on Trump’s decision to move US embassy to east Jerusalem

Jerusalem, the cornerstone of war and peace
US embassy move is the wrong move

Jerusalem holds unique political, religious and spiritual significance and has always been an epicenter of the conflict in the Middle East and a critical issue for resolving it. Thus, any decision regarding Jerusalem should not be taken lightly and even more so unilaterally and its consequences should never be underestimated.

The UN Security Council, entrusted with the maintenance of international peace and security, adopted several resolutions, including most recently UNSC resolution 2334 (2016) that clearly evoked the issue of Jerusalem and reaffirmed its centrality and the principles applicable to the situation prevailing in the holy city. In these resolutions, the Security Council recalled in unequivocal terms that all legislative and administrative measures and actions taken by Israel, the occupying Power, which purport to alter the character and status of the Holy City of Jerusalem have no legal validity and constitute a flagrant violation of international law and a serious obstruction to achieving peace in the Middle East. UNSC resolution 478 (1980) determined the responsibilities of all States in this regard and stated “Decides not to recognize the “basic law” and such other actions by Israel that, as a result of this law, seek to alter the character and status of Jerusalem and calls upon all Member States to accept this decision” and called on “those States that have established diplomatic missions at Jerusalem to withdraw such missions from the Holy City”.

These resolutions were adopted on the basis of the UN Charter and international law, and the cardinal principle of the illegality of acquisition of land by force, reflecting the world’s rejection of Israel’s illegal policies. This stance was further confirmed by the International Court of Justice’s ruling on the wall erected by Israel in the Occupied Palestinian Territory, including East Jerusalem. Moving the US embassy in contravention of these clear and fundamental rules would constitute a political and legal earthquake with far reaching and unpredictable consequences, at a time where the region is witnessing unprecedented turmoil with global ramifications.

No peace can be brokered without Jerusalem and no solution found, and those who act to consolidate Israel’s illegal actions and annexation of Eastern Jerusalem, capital of Palestine, only drive us away from peace and disqualify themselves from playing.

Trump’s administration decision to move the US embassy to Jerusalem would constitute an act of aggression against the Palestinian people’s rights and a grave breach of international law, and could bring us closer to the tipping point beyond which the two-State solution based on 1967 borders can not be resuscitated. The death of the two-State solution would change dramatically the face of the conflict and the framework for solving it, with grave consequences for the entire region. Such a US decision will not only harm the Palestinian people, but those it pretends to help, as furthering occupation is furthering the conflict.

We call on the US administration to carefully assess the impact of this move on the United States’ image, interests, and security as its role is to best serve the interests of the American people not those of the Israeli Government. It is impossible to understand how such a provocative and aggressive move, that runs counter to the positions adopted by successive Democratic and Republican administrations for over 3 decades and to the unshakable international consensus can have positive effects for the United States and its interests in the region and globally.

Many Palestinian citizens of Israel declared that if Trump will declare that he recognizes West Jerusalem as Israel’s capital and East Jerusalem as Capital of Palestine, it would be a positive action they will support as a step for the 2 state solution. The US administration has to choose between abdicating to the most extremist views of the nationalistic right movement in Israel and its representatives in the Israeli government or to stand its ground and work on advancing peace. It must be clear that these two positions are mutually exclusive.

We also call on all of our IUSY and YES members, the relevant international institutions, on all States, and all the freedom loving peoples across the world to mobilize to prevent such a prospect and to defend and uphold international law. The mobilization of the political and moral forces of our time is more needed than ever to end the injustice and the dispossession endured by the Palestinian people for 70 years and the military and occupation of the West Bank, including East Jerusalem, and the Gaza Strip for 50 years.

The Palestinian people have inalienable rights, including a right to self-determination and independence, a right to freedom and dignity. They have every intention to exercise these rights in their sovereign State, with East Jerusalem as its capital. That is the path to peace and security for all the peoples in the region.
The alternative is conflict and Apartheid, which we have to avoid at all costs.

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