All those living in this country live under a single Israeli sovereign, and the U.S. is an avid supporter of that regime. Now that the veil has been officially lifted, maybe something can actually start to change.
By Mairav Zonszein and Aziz Abu Sarah
Headlines and experts have warned that President Trump’s decision to recognize Jerusalem as Israel’s capital and eventually move the American embassy there is a catastrophe that upends decades of American policy. That it will kill the peace process. From the ground, though, it doesn’t look like Trump is breaking with U.S. policy, but rather authenticating it. And he can’t kill the peace process, since it’s been dead for a long time anyway. Trump’s move in fact confirms everything we Israelis and Palestinians already know and have known for a while.
We were both born into a reality in which Jerusalem was under full Israeli control. In 1980, Israel enacted the “Jerusalem Law,” retroactively legalizing what it had already done de facto two weeks after the Six Day Way in June 1967: It assumed sovereign control over about 44 square miles of land populated by Palestinians, much of it well beyond East Jerusalem deep into the West Bank. Since then, Israel has transferred over 200,000 settlers beyond the Green Line, creating the Greater Jerusalem area that Trump recognized as Israel’s capital on Wednesday.
So in this sense, we agree with Trump that his decision is “nothing more or less than recognition of reality.” Jerusalem — the one Israel has carved out — has indeed served as Israel’s de facto capital with full U.S. backing. Trump has taken that from tacit to explicit.
One of us is a Palestinian, born and raised in Jerusalem. Aziz grew up in a world where everything is under Israel’s control: The textbooks were censored by Israel, the teachers worked for the Israeli Ministry of Education, Israeli military police patrolled the neighborhood. He often had to cross checkpoints between Jerusalem’s “united” neighborhoods on his way to school. Even today, Palestinian Authority President Mahmoud Abbas isn’t allowed to set foot in Jerusalem without Israeli permission.
Despite Trump’s boilerplate assurances to Palestinians in his talk, his announcement ignored the fact that while Palestinian residents of Jerusalem make up 37 percent of the city’s population, the vast majority of them, like Aziz, do not have Israeli citizenship. Even though Aziz was born in Jerusalem, he cannot vote in...Read More