Written by Amirah Sohaimi
Image Source: Reuters
On 6 December 2017, US President Donald Trump has declared Jerusalem as the capital of Israel and announced plans to move the US embassy from Tel Aviv to Jerusalem. The announcement has indirectly created tensions in the region and has led to a prospect of peace.
CNN reported that Trump has also signed a formal waiver to delay the move from the US embassy from Tel Aviv to Jerusalem for six months. But the security arm of the State Department is planning a potentially strong protest at US embassies and consulates.
In addition, CNN also stated that the last status of Jerusalem has always been one of the most difficult and sensitive questions in the Israeli-Palestinian conflict. Over the years, US policy will avoid declaring Jerusalem as the capital city of Israel, as Palestinians also claim that Jerusalem is their capital. The decision of one side will indirectly divide the international consensus and affect the problems that should be left to the negotiations.
Looking back at history, the UN partition plan made in 1947 illustrates Jerusalem as a “separate international city”. But the war following the declaration of Israel’s independence one year later left the city divided. When the battle ended in 1949, the ceasefire border – often called the Green Line as it was drawn green ink – saw Israel control the western half, and Jordan dominated the eastern half, including the famous Old Town.
In Malaysia’s newspaper coverage, it is reported that despite having a close relationship with the US president, Prime Minister Najib Razak also denied Trump’s recognition of Jerusalem as the capital of Israel. The New Strait Times reported the event on December 22 where Malaysia joined more than 120 voting states in favor of a UN General Assembly resolution calling for the United States to withdraw its recognition of Jerusalem as Israel’s capital, and ignore the threat by Trump to cut financial aid to the voting state against the steps. In addition, Deputy Prime Minister Ahmad Zahid Hamidi also told the local media that next month the Cabinet will discuss Najib’s proposal for Malaysia to follow Turkey in the opening of an embassy in East Jerusalem to recognize the city as the capital of Palestine.
Besides that, The New Strait Times also reported that Malaysia confirms that the issue of Jerusalem is at the core of Palestine’s cause and requested that all United Nations Member States to not recognize any change in the borders prior to 1967, including in relation to Jerusalem. The decision was also a violation of the rights of the Palestinian state of the people, including their right to self-determination, and violations of international law together with the relevant resolutions of the Security Council.