Jerusalem is a fight for power over land that belongs to everyone, but at the same time no one. The holy city is significant to Christians, Jews and Muslims—meant to be a city for everyone.
Trump’s Administration’s latest political maneuver has intensified the ongoing hate and violence between the Israelis and Palestinians.
The President of the United States, Donald Trump, recognized Jerusalem as the capital of Israel, declaring that the U.S. Embassy will be moved from Tel Aviv to the holy city. Recognizing Jerusalem as the capital was meant to be reserved for the two-state solution—the peace-making negotiation between the two states to harmoniously coexist on one land.
Trump’s plans to move the Embassy has created an uproar because it essentially grants Israel the right to the land over the Palestinians. There has always been suspicion that the U.S. favours the Israelis over the Palestinians, and now the people of Jerusalem have every reason to believe it. The Palestinian President, Mahmoud Abbas, is demanding the U.S. be shut out of the discussions regarding a two-state solution because of their invested interests.
Nour Kazem is an International student from Egypt living in London, Ontario studying political science at Western University. The Egyptians are typically allies with Palestinians, Kazem’s mother sits on an organizational committee that works with Israelis to create peace through smaller projects within local communities. Kazem has travelled to Israel with his mother and has seen the horrendous humanitarian crisis first-hand.
Kazem says it is the politicians hampering the peace process. Before he visited Jerusalem, he thought it was the people’s fault. Turns out, the people are just trying to live their lives, it is the politicians who are greedy.
“At this point you have the land, you have the resources, all the means to success yet they continue to seek more land. What is the moral decision here, is the only question left,” notes Kazem.
The reality is that Israelis and Palestinians, scattered on the East and West of Jerusalem, already share the land and live together every day.
Who occupies the power today?
The Israelis have all power, as they own more than half the land in Jerusalem.
Kazem was able to gain the locals insight on the situation in the streets. He found that the Palestinians believe that the Israelis refuse to see their perspective and so they are not being seen or heards. Meanwhile, the Israelis see the Palestinians as participating in acts of terror. They both think they live for each other’s death.
“The Government operates with propaganda and brainwashing. If you’re Palestinian then your car’s license plate is green, and if you’re Israeli then it is yellow. This was to differentiate between the two. They also have check points on the edges of Jerusalem so they won’t allow the Palestinians in, you have to have documentation to get you inside.”
While visiting Jerusalem, Kazem wanted to go into the Western Wall but Israeli authorities stopped him and would not let him through. Why? He was wearing a shirt with Arabic on it. Surprised, Kazem asked the guards why he was not allowed inside in which they told him it was too dangerous for him.
“The Israelis have the power to regulate a peace process without causing any more damage or people dying. Just within the time it takes to read this story, two people have died and hundreds injured due to the Palestinians’ protesting. This is not ok,” desperately notes Kazem.
Kazem believes the U.S. wants to have power in every area of the world and that they are simply pursing their International interests by relocating the Embassy.
“I’m afraid that it turns into genocide on a bigger scale, that the Israelis actually eliminate Palestine as a nation and as a state. The Palestinians have their own culture, their own accent, their distinct food, their own traditions. They deserve statehood. They deserve to at least not be treated with cruelty. They are segregated that is colonization,” says Kazem.
What can the Canadian Government do to help?
Many nations, including Canadian Prime Minister Justin Trudeau, made announcements reassuring that their Embassies will be remaining in Tel Aviv because they understand relocating to Jerusalem is against International law.
For years, scholars and politicians have been trying to come up with a better solution, but nothing is working. Millions of people are continuing to die every year.
“Canada, alone, cannot do anything. All nations would have to do something together. We need another mediator in that conflict because the U.S. is too biased. They’re mediating a conflict that involves their number one ally. These nations need to use their power to influence how the situation is resolved,” explains Kazem.
Although Canada is geographically far away, the conflict impacts Palestinian Canadians as well. The Palestinians living in Canada suffer from how people view them because of what happens in Israel, explains Kazem.
Canadians needs to be aware of the rich history of Jerusalem and to understand how it has lead to the struggles many deem as irreversible.
“Every human tends to fall into ignorance because they don’t know what’s going on. My only advice is you must learn. Learn to understand everything that has happened. Don’t just believe something someone says or just read the headlines. People that changed the courses of history resided in Jerusalem, so just learn.”
Below is the live footage of Trump announcing the move of U.S. Embassy to Jerusalem. (Toronto Star)