Dangerous decision

THE HANS INDIA |   Dec 08,2017 , 03:20 AM IST

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When the Old City part of Jerusalem became a World Heritage Site in 1981 and entered the list of UNESCO, the city became a part of the list of "World Heritage in Danger."  Jerusalem has survived the vagaries of nature and of man, down through the centuries to remain a holy city. Today, the maverick US President Donald Trump's proclamation that it will be treated as Israel's capital henceforth plunges not only the very city, but the entire Middle East into an unprecedented chaos.

Jerusalem defies every tag in fact. As the practice goes, any city could be defined, so either in administrative vocabulary or in historical terminology, both of which cannot fit in properly when it comes to Jerusalem. Its history defies such a tag and the politics around it defy such a brand. The administrative inclusion of towns and nearby areas and villages after 1967 which are neither fully and organically included in the social, economic and political contexts of Jerusalem proper make it difficult to brand it as such. Similarly, the age of the city too. Look at the known history at least.

Jerusalem has been destroyed twice if not more, besieged 23 times, attacked 52 times and captured and recaptured 44 times. City of David was settled in the 4th millennium BCE. Suleiman the Magnificent of the Ottoman Empire built the walls around Jerusalem which define the Old City which has been occupied by many including Armenian, Christian, Jewish and Muslim Quarters since 19th century. It is a holy city for both Christians and Muslims. New Testament accounts for Jesus Christ's crucifixion there, while the Islamic tradition considers it as the third holiest city after Mecca and Medina because Muhammad made his night journey here to ascend to heaven, 10 years later, to speak to God.

It became the first qibla, the focal point of Muslim prayer (salat) in 610 CE in Islamic tradition. Thus, it belongs to all the three Abrahamic religions of Judaism, Christianity and Islam. Israel incorporated Shuafat and other places known as East Jerusalem after a six-day war in 1967 into the Jerusalem municipal district, a disputed move till now. Such is the hoary past and the controversial nature of the city, with which Donal Trump has now meddled. If this move is part of the peace process that he has been planning for long, having promised it during his electioneering to the Presidency, then Trump has got it all wrong.

What he has done in essence is wriggling the US out of the peace process itself by resorting to the latest diplomatic arson. It is a wonder that a section of the American population prefers this child with stunted growth as its President. The move, a purely political one, is bound to signal a long unrest not only in the region but also in the entire world. Trump had lashed out at his rivals and predecessors on his country's ‘forays' into the trouble spots of the world and promised to retrieve it from them all, to rebuild America. In fact, he had trashed it as never before with this one particular move. 



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