A little more than five months after the United States officially recognized Jerusalem as the capital of Israel, the Americans inaugurated their new embassy, previously located in Tel Aviv, like all other foreign embassies. The US decision angered the Arab countries and led to widespread international condemnation. But why such an outcry?
Because Jerusalem has a symbolic value for the Palestinians at the political level, as well as for Muslims in religious terms, and this recognition of the United States gives little hope for a two-state solution for peace. region, the Palestinians also claiming Jerusalem as the capital for their own state.
In fact, it is necessary to go back 70 years, during the partition plan of the region decided by the UN, to understand why Jerusalem is so important for the Palestinians.
In 1947, immediately after the Second World War, the territory was controlled by the United Kingdom, which wanted to withdraw. The UN then adopts a plan to allow the creation of a Jewish state and an Arab state, and makes Jerusalem an enclave it administers and which has an international status.
The Arab League is against this plan, and a civil war ignites the Jewish and Arab populations of the territory.
The State of Israel is still proclaimed on May 14, 1948. Then follows a war between the new country and its Arab neighbors, the Arab-Israeli war of 1948-1949, following which Jerusalem is separated into two: the west of the city is under the control of Israel and is under the control of neighboring Jordan.
This state of affairs lasted for nearly 20 years, until the Six Day War of June 1967 between Israel and its Arab neighbors, which allowed the Jewish state to annex the Egyptian-administered Gaza Strip to the West Bank. , annexed by Jordan since 1950, as well as East Jerusalem.
These annexations, however, have never been recognized by the United Nations, which refers to these areas as “occupied Palestinian territories”.
For their part, in 1980, Israeli leaders officially announced the “reunification” of Jerusalem, proclaiming it “the eternal and indivisible capital of Israel and the Jewish people”. This declaration was quickly declared “null and void” by the United Nations.
After the recognition of Jerusalem as the capital of Israel by the United States in December, the inauguration of their new embassy on Monday also raises a wave of condemnation within the international community.
France, in particular, believes that the transfer of the American embassy in Israel “contravenes international law,” in the words of Foreign Minister Jean-Yves Le Drian.
The city of the three great religions
In 1947, during the implementation of its plan of sharing, the UN decided to give Jerusalem a special status to “preserve the spiritual and religious interests of the city of the three great monotheistic beliefs […] , Christianity, Judaism and Islam “.
The city contains indeed many places of pilgrimage for the believers of these three religions.
It is considered “the third holy place of Islam”, and Muslims meet there to pray on the esplanade of the Mosques.
Jews, meanwhile, find themselves praying in front of the Wailing Wall in East Jerusalem, something they have not been able to do for nearly 30 years. Indeed, from the takeover of East Jerusalem by Jordan in 1949 until its annexation in 1967, no Jew had been able to enter the area.