With Jerusalem home to important Muslim sites it’s not enough to make it the Palestinian capital, says retired colonel Reuven Berko. Trump and Netanyahu are using Arab world turmoil to make Jerusalem the Israeli capital, argues lecturer Ahmed al-Burai.
US President Donald Trump announced Wednesday that Washington will officially recognize Jerusalem as the capital of Israel. Trump said the American embassy will move from Tel Aviv to the ancient city which has long been contested by Israel and Palestine.
After the announcement, huge protests broke out across the Middle East, including in the West Bank, Turkey, and Lebanon. Meanwhile, Israel has praised Trump’s decision.
RT discussed this issue with Ahmed al-Burai, a lecturer at Istanbul Aydin University, and retired colonel Reuven Berko, Arab affairs analyst for Israel Today newspaper.
Reuven Berko says the decision is “very important despite the fact that, as far as I remember, from a historical point of view, the kings of the dynasties of Israel never consulted with Erdogan or any other regime at the time they put the Israeli capital in Jerusalem at the time of the Kingdom of Israel.”
“And by the way, I never heard about Palestine, even not in the Koran,” he said, adding though that “Palestinian people are very important.”
“We want to create a Palestinian state, the first in history, side by side with Israel. But unfortunately, Jerusalem is like a wife, you can’t share a wife. You already got married to Jerusalem 3,000 years ago. So, this is a ridiculous demand by the Palestinians,” Berko said.
As for the fact that Jerusalem is home to the third holiest site in Islam, Al-Aqsa Mosque, the Israelis “really respect that,” Berko said.
“Here in the Middle East, Al-Aqsa Mosque is a guaranteed safe place, very secure and everybody can worship there. The fact that Al-Aqsa is important to the Muslims doesn’t turn it automatically to be somebody’s capital. Only to the Israelis, because it is written in the Koran,” he said.
Ahmed al-Burai argued that the rhetoric used by his opponent is “obsolete.”
“It is ridiculous in my opinion to speak about Palestine [not being] mentioned in the Koran …This is kind of obsolete rhetoric that the people are bored of hearing from an Israeli guy speaking now to the world,” he said during RT’s televised debate.
Al-Burai recalled the UN 181 Partition Resolution signed in 1947“that stipulates that Jerusalem should be an independent entity – neither the Palestinians nor the Israelis will be controlling this city till the final stages.”
“That is what the Secretary-General of the UN is speaking about. That is what the consensus of the international community is speaking about. It is only Donald Trump himself and Benjamin Netanyahu who think that now it is the time because of the turmoil of the Arab world. What is happening in Syria, Iraq, Yemen, Egypt, all around the Arab world that is not ready to make the Palestinian cause a priority, and that is the time they are going to seize this…For the Muslims and all the Abrahamic religions, it is a very important place, it is one of the most sacred places for Judaism, for Christianity, for Muslims. But the Israelis are trying to say it is exclusively only for the Israelis, for the Jews,” he said.