MOSCOW (Sputnik) — If the United States recognizes Jerusalem as Israel’s capital, it will lose its credentials as a neutral mediator, antagonizing all parties to the Israeli-Palestinian conflict, Ofer Zalzberg, International Crisis Group's Senior Analyst for Israel and Palestine, told Sputnik.
"The Palestinian and Arab reactions will deliver a major blow to Trump's ability to push for what he calls the ultimate deal because he would likely no longer be accepted as a neutral mediator by the PLO [The Palestine Liberation Organization] and many Arab governments … the key question is whether President Trump recognizes west Jerusalem as Israel's capital or the current municipal boundaries of the city, which extend also east of the Green Line," Zalzberg said.
According to Zalzberg, if the United States recognizes only the Western part of the city as the capital, it will anger Israel, because even though at first glance such a move seems supportive of Israeli positions, it is "in sharp contradiction with the government's stance that both parts of the city form its capital."
On Friday, State Department spokesperson Heather Nauert said that the United States had not yet made a decision on relocating the US embassy in Israel from Tel Aviv to Jerusalem, a move promised by Trump during his presidential campaign.
However, two days later, US President Donald Trump's son-in-law and senior adviser Jared Kushner said that the president was close to a decision on whether to recognize Jerusalem as Israel's capital, with media reports claiming that Trump is expected to decide on Monday whether to sign a legal waiver that would delay plans to relocate the US embassy from Tel Aviv to Jerusalem for another half a year, a move made by every US president since 1995.
At the same time, Palestinian President Mahmoud Abbas stated, as quoted by the WAFA news agency, that recognition of Jerusalem as the capital of Israel threatens to derail peace efforts and is "unacceptable for Palestinians, Arabs and internationally," with the Palestinian resistance movement Hamas calling all Palestinians to unite against such "brutal decision."
Palestinians want to create an independent state on the territories of the West Bank, including East Jerusalem, partially occupied by Israel, and the Gaza Strip, and want Israel to withdraw from the Palestinian territories it seized during the Six-Day War.
In 1980, the Israeli Parliament passed the Jerusalem Law declaring Jerusalem the unified capital of Israel, with the action not being been recognized by any other country, including the United States.