Trump: US ‘committed to peace’ and ‘status quo at Jerusalem holy sites’

World Today

PALESTINIAN-ISRAEL-US-CONFLICT Palestinians carry an injured man during clashes with Israeli forces near the border between the Gaza strip and Israel east of Gaza City on May 14, 2018, as Palestinians protest over the inauguration of the US embassy following its controversial move to Jerusalem. (AFP PHOTO / MAHMUD HAMS)

U.S. President Donald Trump opted to not attend the opening the U.S. embassy in Jerusalem, instead sending a message via video.

CGTN’s Nathan King reports.

As gruesome images of dead and injured Palestinians were shown across the world, a message was played out from the U.S. President in Jerusalem.

“Our greatest hope is for peace,” President Donald Trump said via video. “The United States remains fully committed to facilitating a lasting peace agreement, and we continue to support the status quo at Jerusalem’s holy sites, including at the Temple mount, also known as Haram al-Sharif.”

But talking peace while Israel essentially waged war makes the U.S. policy of recognizing Jerusalem as the Israeli capital that much harder to defend.

American officials have argued that by recognizing Jerusalem as the Israeli capital – and moving the American embassy there – they have removed a big stumbling block to peace talks by accepting a reality.

Many analysts, however, argue the opposite has happened.

Though divided, Palestinians also claim Jerusalem as their capital. They are now rejecting the U.S. as an honest broker.

Washington has yet to unveil its much delayed peace plan for the region, which is likely to be rejected by Palestinians and the bulk of the international community.

PALESTINIAN-ISRAEL-US-CONFLICT-GAZA

Palestinians run for cover from tear gas during clashes with Israeli security forces near the border between Israel and the Gaza Strip, east of Jabalia on May 14, 2018. (AFP PHOTO / MOHAMMED ABED)

At the United Nations, the Palestinian representative said the U.S. has blood on its hands.

“Of course, this massacre is taking place at the same time when the United States of America illegally and unilaterally, and in a provocative way, is opening its embassy,” Riyad Mansour said. “It is very, very tragic that they are celebrating an illegal action, while Israel is killing and injuring thousands of Palestinian civilians.”

But the truth is there is a new reality in the Middle East. The Arab world isn’t prioritizing the Palestinian question right now. Saudi Arabia and others are more concerned with the threat from Iran.

A de facto U.S.-Israeli-Saudi alliance is in place against Tehran, strengthened in the wake of Washington’s withdrawal from the Iran nuclear deal.

For U.S. President Trump, the embassy move was fulfilling a campaign pledge, playing well with his political base.

Many evangelical Christians are big supporters of Israel, and the U.S. election campaign season starts soon.


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