International

The US decision on Jerusalem must prompt boycott and isolation of Israel

President Trump on Wednesday formally recognized Jerusalem as the capital of Israel, reversing nearly seven decades of American foreign policy and setting in motion a plan to move the United States Embassy from Tel Aviv to the fiercely contested Holy City. His move has received fierce condemnation from leaders all around the world. President Trump has been impulsive and irresponsible and has shown distaste for consensus and a true peace. Unilateral decisions such as his can only create political tensions and make peace a distant prospect. It will further the arrogance on the part of the Israeli regime which has tried to Judaize Jerusalem from the time of  Partition agreement, and even more vigorously since the occupation began in 1967. Palestinians want East Jerusalem as the capital of their future independent state, whereas Israel has declared the whole city to be its “united and eternal” capital.

Trump’s belief that he can still broker an agreement “that is a great deal for the Israelis and a great deal for the Palestinians” borders on political egotism and self-importance. The US may now have lost the space as peace maker once and for all. In any case the US has never been even-handed on the Palestine-Israel conflict under all its Presidents. The USA has cheated Palestinians making promises and offering assurances that are empty. Trump has acted as he always does- foolish, irresponsible, and under pressure of vested interests.

Pope Francis, reacting to Trump’s intent even before the announcement warned that for the city’s “status quo” to be respected, saying “new tension in the Middle East would further inflame world conflicts”. Other leaders in the EU, Africa, Latin America have slammed Trump’s callous disregard for UN resolutions on the question of Jerusalem. Pope Francis called for all to honor United Nations resolutions on the city, which is sacred to Jews, Christians and Muslims. “I cannot keep quiet about my deep worry about the situation that has been created in the last few days.”

The international community would act in hypocrisy if all it did was to issue condemnations. This is the time to isolate Israel in every possible way. The Boycott-Divestment-Sanctions Movement must come into active roles everywhere. Governments should sanction Israel and cripple Israel’s ability to wheel and deal as if this was business as usual. If Israel is not accorded ‘pariah’ status, it will remain brute and persistent with further stealth of Palestinian land. It could well harbor ideas of ethnic cleansing of the Palestinians. This is a real fear.

Each of us should now choose to close in by boycotting daily use products that have any connection with the Israeli economy. It is also important that we unite with other groups in the country to pressurize the government under Modi to suspend ties with Israel at economic, military, cultural, and academic levels until it withdraws the occupation and dialogues over all final status issues including the vexed question of the status of Jerusalem, settlements, refugees and their right to return, and just sharing of natural resources. We should demand that Israel suspends its barbaric practices of illegal detentions of protestors and recognize the right to dissent, stop detaining men, women, and children without due recourse to law. It should end the vindictive practice of collective punishment and open up Gaza by ending the blockade.

The author is editor of Palestine Updates. He may be contacted at ranjan.solomon(at)gmail.com

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