Trump administration’s intent to recognize Jerusalem as Israel’s capital flies in the face of international law

WASHINGTON, DC, December 5, 2017 – The US Campaign for Palestinian Rights (USCPR), a national coalition of hundreds of groups working for freedom, justice, and equality, strongly opposes the Trump administration’s intent to recognize Jerusalem as Israel’s capital and relocate the US embassy from Tel Aviv.

Recognizing Jerusalem as the capital of Israel flies in the face of international law, the consensus of the international community, and decades of US foreign policy. Accepting Israel’s illegal annexation of Jerusalem to Israel, most notably occupied East Jerusalem, legitimizes Israel’s illegal actions in the city, including its ongoing displacement and disenfranchisement of the city’s Palestinian residents.

Such a move legitimizes Jerusalem’s current separate-and-unequal – otherwise known as apartheid – regime between Israeli Jews and Palestinians, which discriminates against Palestinians in municipal planning services, taxation, housing and education, and is designed to demographically engineer a permanent Jewish majority. Further, it will legitimize Israel’s violations in Jerusalem of the Fourth Geneva Convention, including but not limited to its demolition of Palestinian homes, its illegal settlements, and apartheid wall.

Yousef Munayyer, USCPR Executive Director said, “A decision such as this is both morally wrong and politically dangerous. Not only is Donald Trump deliberately insulting the Palestinian people, but also Arabs and Muslims around the world. In doing so, he is relinquishing what little credibility the United States had left in a region that is already rife with conflict and division. The United States has attempted to shepherd the so-called ‘peace process’ on the basis that it can play the role of mediator but by clearly adopting an Israeli position as its own, it makes clear it is not even pretending anymore.”

For 70 years, the US has given Israel tacit approval and diplomatic cover to steal Palestinian land, build illegal Jewish settlements, and deny Palestinians in East Jerusalem and elsewhere their rights. In spite of this, official US policy has always opposed sovereignty recognition over Jerusalem. Trump’s recognition does away with any pretense that the US is as an unbiased peace mediator, and further endorses Israel’s illegal actions and abuses of Palestinian human rights in the city. This move is but another example of Trump emboldening Israel’s extreme right-wing government and settler movement, and drives home the shared values of Trump and Netanyahu’s right-wing governments, both of which incite and exploit racism, xenophobia, and fear for political gain.

For more information about on the implications this move, read USCPR’s policy paper on the topic, “Moving the US Embassy to Jerusalem: Historical, Legal and Policy Considerations.”

The US Campaign for Palestinian Rights (USCPR) is a national coalition of hundreds of groups working together for freedom, justice and equality. Founded in 2001 as the US Campaign to End the Israeli Occupation, USCPR has been a leading player in the movement for Palestinian rights in the United States. The coalition is bound by commonly shared principles on Palestine solidarity as well as anti-racism principles.