An Israeli border guard scuffles with Palestinian protesters during clashes north of Ramallah, near the Israeli settlement of Beit El in the Israeli occupied West Bank, on December 22, 2017, as protests continue in the region amid anger over the US president's recognition of Jerusalem as its capital. / AFP / ABBAS MOMANI Image Credit: AFP

Occupied Jerusalem is the jewel of Palestine and the cradle of divine religions. Without it, there will not be a Palestinian state and Palestine will not be the historical land that has been known by Arab Muslims and Christians for thousands of years.

Occupied Jerusalem is an Arab city that is sacred to the adherents of three religions. For Muslims, it is like reciting Surat Al Fatiha in our prayers. Without reading it, prayers are not complete and accepted by Allah. Therefore, accepting Palestine without occupied Jerusalem is impossible not only for Arabs, but also for the world in general. Palestine is unlike any other place or country. It is an international issue that has the sympathy of most advocates and activists, a majority of whom support the Palestinian rights.

This has clearly been manifest in the growing international movement for Palestinian rights because the cause is a symbol of justice against oppression, freedom against suppression and enslavement, and against occupation.

This is the real picture of Palestine that is etched in our minds and engraved on our memories and consciousness forever. The love we have for Palestine is the greatest love that our hearts can harbour and this is what distinguishes Palestine from the rest of the world.

The reactions to United States President Donald Trump’s unilateral decision on recognising occupied Jerusalem as the capital of Israel have varied greatly. However, all, without exception, denounced the American move as an offence to the Palestinian cause. Some believe that Trump’s decision has a positive side because it came like a wake-up call for the Arabs who trusted Washington and have long believed that the US would do justice to the Palestinians and treat them fairly. The decision has shattered the Arabs’ illusions about the US as sponsor of the peace process. It has also dispersed delusions of many that the US would be just with the rights of people around the world, especially when it comes to the historical rights of the Palestinians to establish their independent state with occupied Jerusalem as its capital.

Most Arabs, including Palestinians see the US decision as a flagrant violation of all international laws and United Nations resolutions on Palestine. They term it as a mirror for the Arabs, and an eye-opener that makes it transparent that the US works for its own interests and that for Israel. The decision may awaken the Arabs to realise that the US will not work to help them regain their occupied lands or stolen rights, neither in Palestine nor anywhere else in the world. The Arabs must understand that they have to solve their problems and issues by themselves and regain their legitimate rights.

Today, this reality makes us, as Arabs, clear about our positions. Rather than staying blindfolded under miserable conditions, with no prospects of stability and development, it is better to be aware of the ground realities.

On the other side, such an unfair decision by the US administration would not have been possible had the Arab countries been better off than their situation today.

This raises a key question: Is the weak and miserable position of the Arabs the reason that encouraged the US administration to make such an unjust political decision against the city of occupied Jerusalem, contrary to all international laws and UN resolutions?

No doubt that the US decision is a drastic and illogical step that was taken without any rational thinking in Washington. The poor situation of the Arabs is not the only reason, there is something more important than that.

The deteriorating Palestinian situation has encouraged the US to take such a decision, or at least was a motive behind this humiliating resolution — which is not purely American, but an Israeli plan that was initiated a long time ago.

If the Palestinian situation remains as it is now, Palestine will be wiped off from the world map, and will only remain as a mere name and a symbol on a coin to be exchanged by Muslims and Christians in memory of Palestine.

Palestinians need to combine their efforts to fight Israeli expansion plans, otherwise it will mean an end to 70 years of resistance.

Mohammad Hassan Al Harbi is a renowned columnist and author whose writings cover various fields ranging from media studies to education.