Ahead of the Storm…

By Fahed Khitan

تم نشره في Wed 4 January / Jan 2017. 01:00 AM - آخر تعديل في Thu 5 January / Jan 2017. 12:30 AM
  • Fahed Khitan

Three Republican US senators, two days ago, submitted a bill to relocate the American embassy to the occupied city of Jerusalem, in accordance to a Congress act passed in 1995.

The bill, submitted for later vote, according to one of its presenters, is intended to fill the gap being exploited by the US Department of State to abstain from executing it.

The move by congressmen is not an isolated incident, nor worthless. In fact, the timing of it coincides with the declared and equally strong inclination with Donald Trump’s administration to initiate the motion.

Contrary to the usual reiteration of this same promise, this time, Jordanian politicians actually feel that Trump is going to keep his promise.

Clearly, Trump’s angry statements, crazed by the UNSC’s denunciation of Israeli settlement in occupied Palestinian lands, indicate he’s on the edge of his seat waiting for the chance to restore his ally’s dignity, Israel, after the latter took an unforgettable slap in the face by Barack Obama’s administration.

The first thing on his mind is relocating the embassy, despite the administrative and procedural complications hindering the immediate execution of the decision. And it is unclear whether or not the Congress pushing this decision would actually help Trump set the wheels in motion at once.

Relocating the embassy to occupied Jerusalem means that a US recognition of the ‘whole’ of Jerusalem as the capital of Israel, rendering any negotiations or resolutions hopeless, and for good revoking the sought aspiration to restore the occupied city as Palestine’s capital.

For Jordan, this means a complete negation of the basis prefacing any resolution to the Arab-Israeli conflict, as well as an outspoken violation of Jordanian guardianship over Islamic and Christian sacred shrines and Awqaf in Jerusalem, according to the Jordanian role in the peace treaty with Israel, based on the foundation that east Jerusalem is part of the Palestinian occupied territories of 1967, to be decided on via negotiations.

That said, Jordan may not be able to stop trump from making such a catastrophic move. But a pre-emptive Arab movement could push the US administration to reconsider, realistically, and carefully, their view regarding the totality of conflict in the Middle East.

It may even be feasible, instead of waiting for the Arab Summit in March, to get ahead of the storm and take immediate action via the Arab League, in cooperation with prominent Arab leaders, to put together an urgent diplomatic plan to address the US congress and explain to them the dangers of such a decision and the damage it will incur to US interests in the region.

In the meantime, a national, Jordanian rhetoric must be prefaced to address such a decision, should it actually pass, as to how we intend to administrate domestic response, and the pressure on the government to take a stand it cannot afford.

In any way, Trump’s presidency omens a difficult era for the Palestinian cause, and we in Jordan will not be safe from its implications!