Until the last minute, just before his speech, I was hoping that US President Donald Trump would back down, but he did not.
He decided to cross the line. He chose to cross what has always been regarded as the red line in the Middle East – the main cause of Arab-Israeli conflict. He decided to recognise Jerusalem as the capital of Israel. Unfortunately, Trump decided to please the Jewish lobby and Israel’s supporters in America without thinking of his friends and allies in the Middle East and Arab and Muslim world.
Trump dared to do and challenge what all Presidents have never dared. We know the issue of Jerusalem has been used by all politicians running for the post of US President to garner votes from the Israeli lobby, but not one of them fulfilled their promise.
And it seems that all the politicians who surround Trump and give him counsel did not explain to him the dangerous consequences. They did not explain to him the importance of a city such as Jerusalem in the Arab and Muslim world. Jerusalem, in fact, is a very special land for Christians as well.
Jerusalem is a holy city for all Abrahamic faiths. It cannot be used as a pawn in political games. Millions of Muslims and Christians have been terribly hurt by Trump’s random decision. Arabs have felt deep pain. They should by now have lost all faith in the Trump administration to be a neutral and fair peace broker.
By recognising Jerusalem as the capital of Israel, Trump has deepened the crisis in the Middle East. He has thrown oil into the flames of the flammable Middle East, which is already burning. Yes, he does not care for the region – that is the message we have got from him. That’s what he is telling us in big capital letters. Then, why should the Middle East care for his interests? Why should we care for American interests at all?
Now, we will be looking to see how the Middle East, especially Palestine reacts. Palestinians will burn in anger. These torrents of anger will spill on to the streets – passions will be fanned. This rash and irresponsible decision will trigger rage. Violence will raise its ugly face.
US President Donald Trump will be held responsible for the violence. And he will not be able to play Pontius Pilate.