The Trump administration has appeared to soften its stance on cutting aid to the United Nations, after the result of the United Nations’ vote on Jerusalem. The United Nations voted against the recognition of Jerusalem as the capital of Israel, with United States President Donald Trump initially threatening to cut support to the United Nations if the vote was passed. But in the aftermath of the vote, the United States’ foreign administration has seemingly started to backpedal on their threats, instead claiming their foreign Policy to be under review.
In the days leading up to the vote, the Trump administration threatened that they would cut support to the United Nations if they voted against the acknowledgement of Jerusalem as the capital of Israel. Trump, on Thursday, tweeted “Let them vote against us. We’ll save a lot. We don’t care.” However, in the wake of the UN vote declaring that Jerusalem was not the capital of Israel, the U.S.’ position has seemingly changed. Spokeswoman Heather Nauert of the U.S. State Department instead suggested that the foreign policy decision was not going forward after all. “The president’s foreign policy team has been empowered to explore various options going forward with other nations” Nauert stated. She ultimately suggested that “ No decisions have been made.”
The United Nations’ refusal to acknowledge Israel’s ownership of Jerusalem is the more sensible option to pursue. While the president of the United States may not approve, the complicated history and significance of the holy city to others outside of Israel is something that should carefully be considered in acknowledging Israel’s occupation. If they were to acknowledge any one state as having sovereignty over the city, it would only escalate pre-existing tensions and conflicts within the region. By vetoing the president’s claim, the United Nations has acknowledged that they do not want conflict in the region to be instigated by declaring the city as belonging solely to Israel.
Jerusalem is a city that is sacred to not only the Jewish faith, but also to the Christian and Muslim faiths. In 1947, the United Nations passed a bill that divided the holy land into two halves: West Jerusalem became the capital of Israel, while East Jerusalem became the Capital of Jordan. Jerusalem, however, was purposely left undecided to minimize the potential conflict that would erupt if the city was given over to any one nation. In 1967, the western bank was captured by Israel during the Six Days War, which included the Eastern half of Jerusalem in territories claimed. However, the United Nations did not acknowledge Israel sovereignty of the territory, and much of the international community instead acknowledges Eastern Jerusalem as part of the occupied Palestinian territories.
The conflict over Jerusalem is not one that can easily be resolved by simply proclaiming one nation as owning it. The holy city is a place of deep significance to many faiths, and by giving legitimacy to one state over another, it will only succeed in perpetuating pre-existing animosity between both Israel and its neighbours. If Jerusalem’s sovereignty is to be resolved, it can only be done by involving all parties, rather than by a single outsider state trying to enforce its belief without considering those of others.
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