Recognising Jerusalem: Unilateralism, International Law, and the Trump White House

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What ramifications and when? The recognition of Jerusalem as the natural capital for the State of Israel by US President Donald J. Trump was promised by the buffoonish steward of the empire. Delivering on it was not necessarily expected – US presidents, keen on courting pro-Israeli groups, had been promising to do so for years.

Overthrowing the shackles of convention is something Trump believes is a valuable substitute for good sense. Ruffle feathers, dirty assumptions, and hope that it catches. One such convention is the steadfast refusal on the part of states to recognise Jerusalem as the Israeli capital in any de jure sense.

From the White House, Trump claimed he had “judged this course of action to be in the best interests of the United States of America, and the pursuit of peace between Israel and the Palestinians.” Such best interests evidently did not include Palestinians as such, but was “nothing more or less than a recognition of reality”.

This is a reality born of brute force rather than guiding law. In the case of the latter, it is without any distinct foundation, unless intangible spirits are accorded corporeal dimensions. UN Resolution 181, passed by the UN General Assembly on November 29, 1947, deemed the city “a corpus separatum under a special international regime”.

Subsequent moves based around the force of arms were made in contravention of the resolution, though these never had the blessing of international law: Israel…

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