US President Donald Trump campaigned on his ability to make a deal. Peace in the Middle East was the “ultimate deal.” He has asserted with hubristic overconfidence that he will broker a peace deal between Palestine and Israel. Recently he announced that the US embassy would be relocated from Tel Aviv to Jerusalem.
Embassies are universally situated in a country’s capital. Israel considers Jerusalem to be their capital but because it has been so long disputed and there is so much tension, Tel Aviv is treated as a kind of international capital and is where all the embassies are located. No other country officially recognises Jerusalem as Israel’s capital and only a small number of consulates are in the city. The city is sacred to all three Abrahamic faiths (Judaism, Islam and Christianity) and its land is currently divided into the western Israeli side and the western, occupied Palestinian side. Hence it is known as “a city without a country.”
Trump’s declaration has been seen as a move against the Muslim world. Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdoğan said, “No one person’s personal ambitions should be allowed to alter the fates of billions of people. Any such move would only embolden terrorist organizations.”
Palestinian Prime Minister Rami Hamdallah said that it “destroys the peace process.” The simple statement by Trump that Jerusalem is the capital that “the Jewish people established in ancient times” can be seen as a slight against the Arab world.
Regardless of whether the embassy moves, it is a clear indication that the US is on the side of Israel, a distinction that is seen as directly opposed to the Arab world. This will at the very least throw things up in the air and aggravate old wounds.