Let us begin with a little ‘summarized’ explanation of the importance of Jerusalem in Arab-Israeli conflict. Here are some facts

  1. Before Israel was created Jerusalem was for centuries
    under Muslim rule.
  2. Before 1948 while Israel was still in the making and the situation in Palestine had become volatile, United Nations designated Jerusalem as an “International Zone”.
  3. During first Arab-Israel war in 1948, Israel seized the western half of Jerusalem and during the second war in 1967 it seized the eastern half of the city.
  4. Jerusalem is sacred to all three major religions, Judaism, Christianity and Islam, and both Israel and Palestinians claim the city as their political capital.
  5. In this background, any future peace settlement between Israel and Palestinians has to include two capitals in West and East Jerusalem for Israel and Palestinian state respectively.
  6. The United States to present itself as an impartial broker, always considered Jerusalem to be a disputed city, the final status of which to be decided by both parties.
  7. Israel declared Jerusalem as its undivided capital through a 1980 law which signaled Israel’s plan to annex the east Jerusalem disregarding Palestinian claim.
  8. The rise of evangelical Christian right, the ‘Zionist Christians’ in America, and strong Jewish lobby in the congress has made it possible to have congress pass a law in 1995, almost unanimously, called “Jerusalem Capital Act” which recognized Jerusalem as Israel’s Capital while allowing the President to postpone any such declaration for six months at a time through an authority to waiver the application of the law. The past Presidents, in order to have the peace process succeed used the right to waiver and left the state of Jerusalem undecided until final settlement between Israel and Palestinians.
  9. By officially recognizing Jerusalem as Israel’s capital, Mr. Trump is the first President who endorsed a shift in American position from neutral arbiter to one overtly taking sides with Israel.

Keeping in mind the above background, the hard facts are that Israel has been more and more Palestinian territory in the West Bank by building settlements in total disregard of international law. Emboldened by American recognition of Jerusalem as Israel’s capital and America’s lip-service condemnation of settlements, Israel will now continue even more vigorously, its policy of occupying and annexing maximum areas of West Bank, leaving few discontinuous strips of land disconnected with Gaza strip, for future Palestinian State to formally satisfy the demand of a state. Even such a discordant and tattered Palestinian State will be under a state of pseudo-autonomy surrounded by Israeli military check points to control movement of Palestinians from one area to the other,. There are four sad facts that Palestinians are faced with.

  1. The United Nations has been reduced to an impotent organization because of its antiquated mode of operation riddled with vetoes, political and financial exploitations by major powers and useless resolutions worth paper only.
  2. The countries of the world, as polarized as they have always been, will continue to either remain silent spectators to Israeli atrocities or only make moral condemnation of Israel with no effect.
  3. The Arab countries and the whole Middle East, being under a bloody chaos and the clutch of despotic rulers destroyed by terrorism and engulfed in violence, corruption and crumbling infrastructure will have no desire, capability or power to deal with Israel.
  4. Short of a major war in the Middle East with proxy involvement of big powers like China, Russia and the U.S and unimaginable destruction and bloodshed, Israel it seems, is not going to be contained.

It is a very difficult position for Palestinians, very depressing and challenging indeed. If Palestinian leadership does not reassess the situation wisely, and does not give up its emotional road-map to a statehood involving rallies, repeat Intifadah, and violence, they will be setting themselves for self-annihilation.

So what choice do Palestinians have? They should first understand it very clearly that to outsmart the enemy is the biggest weapon of the modern world. They should also understand that in the modern age, a certai section of population cannot be kept as second class citizens under an apartheid system.

So the smart choice for Palestinians would be to give up demand for a two state solution and accept one wholesome state of Israel with Palestinians enjoying full rights as its citizens. Israel then, will either have to accept an outcome that could erode its very existence as a Jewish state or deal with Palestinians justly and honorably to let them have a geographically viable and palpable state of their own.