Trump’s Jerusalem Announcement: Facts and Talking Points

Jerusalem- Dome of the Rock

The Muslim American Society (MAS) stands with the international community in rejecting President Trump’s announcement of Jerusalem as the capital of the state of Israel.

The Facts:

On Wednesday, December 6th 2017, President Trump announced that he would be moving the US embassy from Tel Aviv to Jerusalem, officially recognizing the city as the capital of Israel. This decision, widely considered a threat to the Middle East peace process, was taken against the advice of world leaders, among them many close US allies.

Why this decision is controversial:

  1. Jerusalem, a city holy to Muslims, Jews and Christians alike, was the capital of Palestine prior to 1948.

  2. After the establishment of the state of Israel on Palestinian land, the city was split into West Jerusalem under Israeli control, and East Jerusalem under Jordanian control.

  3. In 1967, Israeli forces took over the whole city, a move not recognized by the international community. East Jerusalem continued to be accepted as the capital for the Palestinian state, and is considered to be occupied territory; Israeli settlements in this part of Jerusalem are considered illegal.

The United States’ longstanding support for the Israeli occupation is detrimental to American interests:

  1. Israel is the largest recipient of US foreign aid at over $3.1 billion annually. Meanwhile, Flint, MI continues to struggle with its water crisis, childhood hunger is still a major issue in the US, and homelessness is on the rise.

  2. The US continues to veto United Nations resolutions that condemn the building of illegal Israeli settlements on Palestinian soil, detention of minors, the living conditions of the Palestinians within the Palestinian territories as well as general violations against human rights and fundamental freedoms.

  3. The US’ commitment to protecting Israel in spite of its numerous human rights violations and systematic repression of Palestinian Christians and Muslims has increased anti-American sentiment in the Middle East.

  4. The Jerusalem announcement further isolates the US and damages its image as a global leader. Criticism and concern were expressed by the European Union, Canada and many Middle Eastern countries as well as Pope Francis and UN Secretary General António Guterres and leaders around the world.

What you can do (adapted from AMPalestine.org):

  1. Send a letter to the White House demanding Trump and his administration stand alongside the international community in recognizing the Israeli occupation of East Jerusalem; and, barring this, they at least should adhere to decades of U.S. foreign policy that has maintained the U.S. embassy in Tel Aviv like the rest of the international community and that believes the status of Jerusalem must be resolved through negotiation.

  2. Participate in any demonstrations in and around you, and organize a demonstration in your city to protest the announcement.

  3. Share this email with others and rally those around you to send letters and attend rallies.

 Khutba Talking Points
by Imam Suhail Mulla

سُبحانَ الَّذي أَسرىٰ بِعَبدِهِ لَيلًا مِنَ المَسجِدِ الحَرامِ إِلَى المَسجِدِ الأَقصَى الَّذي بارَكنا حَولَهُ لِنُرِيَهُ مِن آياتِنا ۚ إِنَّهُ هُوَ السَّميعُ البَصيرُ
Exalted is He who took His Servant by night from al-Masjid al-Haram to al-Masjid al- Aqsa, whose surroundings We have blessed, to show him of Our signs. Indeed, He is the Hearing, the Seeing.

What Jerusalem means to Muslims…

 Jerusalem is sacred to almost two billion Muslims in the world.

 The city of Jerusalem is very important to Muslims. Muslims have a right to this city religiously, historically and legally.

 There are hundreds of thousands, perhaps millions of Muslim graves in the city of Jerusalem.

 Jerusalem is the site of one of Islam’s holiest places – the Dome of the Rock.

 Muslims established and practiced the most tolerant multi-religious and multi-faith character of Jerusalem. Thus, Muslims recognize the rights of Jews and Christians who hold the city dear to their hearts and sacred to their respective faiths.

 Muslims believe in Prophets Moses, David, Solomon and Jesus (all of whom resided in the vicinity of Jerusalem); therefore, they must recognize the sacredness and importance of Jerusalem in Islam.

 After the re-conquest of Jerusalem by Salahuddin in the time of the Crusades, Jews were again permitted by Muslims to come back and live in the city. The Crusaders during their 90-year rule (1099 – 1187) had banned both Jews and Muslims from that city. That was one of several points in history where Muslims ensured that Jerusalem maintained religious pluralism and where the faithful of all three faiths understood that this land was sacred to all.

 Jerusalem is home to some of the holiest sites for the followers of the three Abrahamic faiths – Muslim, Jews and Christians. To politicize Jerusalem is a surefire way to cause discord, mayhem and conflict between the followers of these three faiths.

Why the Establishment of a US Embassy in Jerusalem is Illegal and Dangerous…

 The US must maintain impartiality if it wants to be an honest broker of peace. Locating the US embassy in Jerusalem is a clear step in being absolutely “partial” to Israel and its interests. For decades, America has portrayed itself as the broker of peace between Palestine and Israel, yet this latest call by Trump is the antithesis of peace-brokering. It is, in fact, a deeply polarizing move that will very likely result in escalated conflict.

 The call for a US Embassy in Jerusalem will create tremendous, unnecessary negative sentiment in the Muslim world towards the US and its citizens. This may exacerbate existing heightened tensions in the Muslim world and fuel more hatred and abhorrence of American foreign policy.

 The US would be the first country to house its embassy in Jerusalem – currently, all such diplomatic missions are located in Tel Aviv.

 Israel occupied Jerusalem by force. The whole world, including the US, has not recognized Israel’s jurisdiction and ownership of Jerusalem for the last 70 years.

 Under the proposed 1947 UN Partition Plan, the city was meant to be internationally administered, due to its importance to the three Abrahamic religions. But, in 1948,  Zionist forces seized the western half of the city and declared the area as part of what became Israel.

 This decision makes it clear to the world that there is no true Palestinian sovereignty, and that the Palestinian Authority has no say over anything that happens in Jerusalem.

 This sends a message to the Palestinian public that their self-determination is no longer a priority in peace negotiations.