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The Red-Line

US president J Donald Trump’s decision to recongnise Jerusalem as the capital of Israeel has evoked sharp reaction from world leaders, in particular, the leaders from Muslim nations fearing that the highly controversial move would plunge the region into a quagmire of uncertainty and violence besides undermining the regional stability. Pertinently, Trump is expected to recognize Jerusalem as Israel’s capital, despite opposition from Arab, Muslim and Western allies. The controversial move is largely seen as death knell for peace process in the region.

Turkey says recognition would plunge region and world ‘into a fire with no end in sight’. Expressing his serious concerns over the development Turkish president Recep Tayab Erdogan in a clear message to the US president said, “Jerusalem is a red line for Muslims, we will continue our fight against this with determination until the very end this could go all the way to our cutting diplomatic ties with Israel”.

The OIC, the second largest forum after the United Nations has also warned Donald Trump’s possible recognition of Jerusalem as Israel’s capital saying the contentious move constitutes “naked aggression” against the Arab and Muslim world, while the ruling Palestinian party has called for mass protests against such a move by Washington. Iran’s Supreme Leader Ali Khamenei says the US intention to move embassy to Jerusalem is sign of ‘incompetence and failure. King Salman was reported by the Saudi Press Agency to have told Trump: “Such a dangerous step is likely to inflame the passions of Muslims around the world due to the great status of Jerusalem and the al-Aqsa Mosque.”

Pope Francis spoke in support of the “status quo” in Jerusalem, calling for “wisdom and prudence” in order to avoid conflict. He appealed to all sides to respect “the status quo of the city” as according to the United Nations resolutions. Palestinian representative to Britain on the other hand termed the decision as tantamount to ‘kiss of death’ for peace process. Meanwhile, Jordan has sought emergency Arab League meeting to discuss the issue.

Palestinian President Mahmoud Abbas and King Abdullah have also warned Donald Trump of the “dangerous” consequences of transferring the American embassy to Jerusalem. According to Jordanian media, Abdullah pledged to thwart any American initiative to renew the peace process and would encourage rage and resistance among Muslims and Christians alike. Leader of the House in Senate Raja Zafarul Haq stressed the need for an emergency meeting of the Muslim nations to discuss US President Donald Trump’s decision to move the US Embassy in Israel to Jerusalem.

As the outrage in other parts of Muslim world continues to grow against Trump’s divisive decision to recognize Jerusalem as the capital of Israel, Palestinians declare three ‘days of rage’ across west bank. Other than political circles Trump’s decision evoked a severe criticism and condemnation from civil society and intelligentsia all across the globe even the English-language Daily Star newspaper’s front page features a full-page photo of Old City of Jerusalem with a headline reading: “No offense Mr. President, Jerusalem is the capital of PALESTINE.” Another paper, the An-Nahar, compared Trump to the late British Foreign Secretary Arthur Balfour who hundreds of years ago issued a public statement now known as the Balfour declaration that supported the creation of a national home for the Jewish people in the territory know as Palestine. “Trump, Balfour of the century, gifts Jerusalem to Israel,” the paper’s Wednesday headline reads.

The Trump’s move, on the other hand, has further strengthened the widespread perception that the US is part of the problem not the solution. Having far reaching consequences on the overall situation in the region the announcement, besides putting a stumbling block in the way of much trumpeted decades’ long peace process in the Middle East, is believed to serve as propaganda fodder for extremists. Instead of pushing the region into a new quagmire of uncertainty the US administrations should review and revisit its policies toward the Middle East to avoid possible destabilization of peace and stability in the region. Any such move to change the status of Jerusalem can cause disasters of uncontrollable magnitude having a potential to jeopardize the world peace. Neglecting the sentiments of the Muslims attached to the city would be a big blunder and tantamount to playing with fire. For Muslims particularly the Palestinians Jerusalem constitutes what Erodgan said as the red-line, and any attempt to breach it will trigger worldwide outrage and anti-American sentiment.

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