Tuesday, December 18, 2018
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Social media reaction: Arabs helpless and hopeless

Arabs and Muslims share frustrations after US president cements recognition of Jerusalem as Israel's capital.

Arabs helpless

After US President Donald Trump ignored warnings from the international community and formally recognised Jerusalem as the Israeli capital, some Twitter users focused on how Arabs contributed in the loss of Jerusalem.

The status of the holy city is an extremely sensitive aspect of the Israeli-Palestinian conflict.

While Israel claims the whole city its capital - following the occupation of East Jerusalem in the 1967 war with Syria, Egypt and Jordan - Palestinians have long seen East Jerusalem as the capital of their future state.

"Jerusalem was lost from the day Sadaat visited it and the day you all danced for Oslo," wrote Mourid Barghouti, a celebrated Palestinian poet and writer, referring to Egyptian President Anwar Sadat and the Oslo Accords.

When Sadat took over the presidency in Egypt in 1970, he offered a peace settlement with Israel along the lines of UN Resolution 242, which, more or less, cemented Israel's military victory.

As for the Oslo Accords, in 1993, the State of Israel and the Palestine Liberation Organization (PLO) formally recognised one another for the first time, and committed to negotiate a solution to their decades-long conflict based on territorial compromise.

The accords did not stipulate, but implied, the creation of a Palestinian state alongside Israel. That two-state vision required Israel to abandon its negation of Palestinian claims to national sovereignty, and Palestinians accept that such claims would be limited to only a small part of the entire territory of historic Palestine for which the PLO had been fighting, recognising Israel’s sovereignty over the remainder.

"Oh Arabs and Muslims, Bolivia will ask for an emergency security council meeting in the event that Trump recognises Jerusalem the capital of Israel. Where is the Arab representative in the security council to call for such a meeting?" said Abdullah K. AlShayji, a professor at Kuwait University.

Bolivia said it would request a meeting of the United Nations Security Council after Trump's announcement on Wednesday, with Sacha Sergio Llorentty Soliz, UN ambassador, describing the move as a "reckless and a dangerous decision that goes against international law, the resolutions of the Security Council, it also weakens any effort for peace in the region and also upsets the whole region".

Abdullah Hamidaddin, a social anthropologist, said: "Trump deals a blow to the Arabs and Muslims and calls on them to accept it quietly. He throws resolution 242 against a wall and insists that the US is with the peace process. He hopes the moderates can do their part, then the extremists can cut off the argument of the moderates. He says Israel is the greatest democracy because it practices apartheid and violates human rights."

The United Nations Security Council adopted Resolution 242 on November 22, 1967, calling for the "withdrawal of Israeli armed forces from territories occupied in the recent conflict". It emphasised "the inadmissibility of the acquisition of territory by war and the need to work for a just and lasting peace in the Middle East in which every State in the area can live in security".

While all parties ultimately accepted the resolution, it took two decades for the Palestine Liberation Organization (PLO) to do so. The PLO criticised the resolution for viewing Palestinians only as refugees, and not as a people with national rights. 

"There is no way Trump could have undertaken this decision without studying and making sure that the Arabs will not really mind. And if they did, they won't be able to do anything about it!," said Mohamd Nashwan, a Gaza-based writer.

"As the world rejects and condemns Trump's decision, we find the conspirators also riding this wave of condemnation," said user @BoMuhannd. 

"You see muslims in sheesha lounge, listen to nasheeds about Palestine and wearing scarfs around their clean shaven faces, women chanting slogans, singing songs, waving. You think Palestine is going to be liberated like that?! #SaveAlquds #FreePalestine" wrote @KoshurSeh, a user in Indian-administered Kashmir. 

While most lamented Trump's move, some used the moment to criticise Palestinians.

"The Palestinians do not sympathise with you or your causes. Instead they line up next to your enemies because they simply hate you. But despite that they ask you to sympathise with their cause," said Saleh Al Fahid, a journalist.

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