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Palestinians Slam Trump: 'Undivided Jerusalem' Pledge Shows Disregard for International Law

Presidential candidate's statement underscores Abbas' call for world to end occupation, senior PLO official Saeb Erekat says after Trump, Netanyahu meeting.

Haaretz   26 September  2016 3:46 PM
Donald Trump and Benjamin Netanyahu, September 25, 2016.GPO
Senior Palestinian official Saeb Erekat condemned on Monday Republican U.S. presidential candidate Donald Trump who said that, if he is elected, the United States would recognize Jerusalem as the "undivided capital of the State of Israel."
Trump "shows disregard for international law … regarding the status of Jerusalem, including the occupation and illegal annexation of occupied East Jerusalem," Erekat, the secretary general of the Palestine Liberation Organization, said in a statement.
Erekat added that statements by Trump's adviser on Israel, American Jewish lawyer David Friedman, "show a total abandonment of the two-state solution, international law and UN resolutions, and underscores the urgency of President Abbas’ call at the [UN] General Assembly for the international community to bring an end to the occupation and salvage the two-state solution before it is too late."
Trump's statement was issued following a meeting between the Republican contender and Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu Sunday at Trump Tower in New York. At the meeting, the statement said, "Mr. Trump acknowledged that Jerusalem has been the eternal capital of the Jewish People for over 3000 years, and that the United States, under a Trump administration, will finally accept the long-standing Congressional mandate to recognize Jerusalem as the undivided capital of the State of Israel."
Later in the day on Sunday, Netanyahu met in New York with Democratic presidential nominee Hillary Clinton. At the meeting, Clinton stressed “her opposition to any attempt by outside parties to impose a solution" to the Israeli-Palestinian conflict, "including by the UN Security Council," according to a statement released by her campaign. She further reiterated her commitment to a two-state solution negotiated directly by the parties. 
A "strong and secure Israel" is vital to the United States, Clinton said, according to the statement. She also "reaffirmed her unwavering commitment" to the U.S.-Israel relationship and stressed her support for the new military aid agreement reached earlier in September and her commitment to countering efforts to boycott Israel.
Opinion Did Trump Just Short-shrift Netanyahu?

Donald Trump promised Benjamin Netanyahu that if elected he'd recognize an undivided Jerusalem as the capital of Israel. So why did Netanyahu leave the meeting looking so forlorn?

Asher Schechter Sep 26, 2016 12:48 PM
At this point we know very little about what was said during the 80-minute meeting between Donald Trump and Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu (or, for that matter, about Netanyahu’s meeting with Hillary Clinton later in the day). The meetings were closed to the press, and the carefully worded official announcements put out by the campaigns were pretty vague. 
The official photo from the Trump meeting shows Trump and Netanyahu shaking hands, smiling awkwardly at the camera as Trump’s gilded New York penthouse glimmers in the background; a weighty volume, “Oscar Night: 75 Years of Hollywood Parties,” is curiously placed on the coffee table behind them. Press photos of Netanyahu after he exited the Trump Tower showed the prime minister looking rather glum.
One thing we do know about the meeting is that Trump told Netanyahu that if he is elected president, the U.S. will recognize an undivided Jerusalem as the capital of Israel. 
If this were to happen, of course, it would signify a major shift for American foreign policy: the U.S. does not officially recognize Jerusalem as Israel’s capital and has its local embassy in Tel Aviv. It would also be a spectacularly terrible idea: no Palestinian leader will ever be able to give up on the claim for East Jerusalem, and a unilateral American decision on this issue would effectively thwart any attempt to revive peace talks between Israelis and Palestinians, essentially guaranteeing a perpetual state of conflict. 
Trump’s promise to Netanyahu was not unexpected. After initial reluctance to commit on this issue, Trump has made similar comments in the recent past, including vowing to move the U.S. embassy to Jerusalem if he is elected.
Nor is Trump’s promise actually that outrageous. In fact, it’s pretty standard for White House hopefuls, both Democrats and Republicans — a surefire way to pander to pro-Israel voters and (more importantly) pro-Israel donors. Barack Obama — a notorious Israel “abuser,” per Trump — promised the same thing during his 2008 campaign, and personally intervened to make sure the same language was in the Democratic platform in 2012.  
No U.S. president has ever actually made good on these campaign promises, of course, because (as previously mentioned) it would be a terrible idea. Congress already passed a law that ordered the U.S. embassy to be relocated to Jerusalem 21 years ago — Republican and Democratic presidents have ignored it ever since. 
Really, the most surprising thing about Trump’s promise to recognize Jerusalem as Israel’s capital is that he was willing to promise so little. Trump’s campaign is putting a lot of effort (lately, anyway) into pandering to pro-Israel voters, with supporters making sure that Trump locks down the vast majority of Israel’s 200,000 eligible American voters. He has even gone so far as to work with a team in Israel to open a campaign office in the West Bank — an unprecedented move for an American presidential nominee. Trump’s adviser on U.S.-Israel relations even backed Netanyahu’s strange declaration in recent weeks that the Palestinian claim to remove settlements constitutes “ethnic cleansing.” 
At this stage of the election, Trump’s behaving so desperately for Jewish votes that it’s surprising he’s only promising Jerusalem. One would think that he’d have promised Netanyahu the moon by now.
Some might claim that, unlike previous presidential nominees, Trump will actually make good on his promise to recognize Israel’s sovereignty over Jerusalem. That might be true, but nevertheless, one would expect a wild candidate such as Trump, unbound by political conventions, to promise so much more than that.
Which might explain why Netanyahu left the meeting looking so forlorn. Maybe he felt short-shrifted.
Asher Schechter
Haaretz Columnist
read more:
Opinion The Inhuman Outlook of Netanyahu: A Response to Ari Shavit
We on the 'radical left' have a different way of looking at things. The basis of our ideology isn’t history but human beings.
Chaim Levinson Sep 21, 2016 4:51 AM
Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu looks on as he chairs the weekly cabinet meeting at his Jerusalem office on September 11, 2016.Gali Tibbon, AFP
Ari Shavit’s column about the radical left is, like many of his other columns, missing two words: human beings. Shavit is neither a rightist nor a leftist; he’s a “Bibist.” Neither he nor Bibi Netanyahu actually lives here, in the present, in the world of ordinary human beings. Their lives are meta-historical.
They don’t talk about Israeli society, but about David Ben-Gurion and Ze’ev Jabotinsky. Their thinking is deliberately broad – they would rather impress historians who will be born in another 200 years than members of our own generation. They live in a world whose driving forces aren’t human beings, but ideas and metaphors and worldviews and big words (usually empty) like “deterrence” and “heritage” and “nation.”
In his meetings with the press this summer, Netanyahu spoke about Israel’s layers of fortitude. He never talks about human beings.
When he speaks about the length of the 50-day war with Hamas in the summer of 2014, he pounds on the table and praises the international legitimacy that he managed to obtain, thanks to his ties with Angela Merkel, Barack Obama and Vladimir Putin. He also explains that extending the campaign allowed Israel to obtain intelligence.
It never even enters his head that there are people trapped in this madness. Never mind the residents of Gaza; after all, who cares about them. But what about the Israelis, for whom every day of war is another day of fear, another day of bomb shelters, another day of businesses going bankrupt?
Similarly, when Netanyahu speaks about his economic management, he shows macroeconomic graphs. The effect of his policies on the short-changed public that has sacrificed its daily bread for the sake of that graph doesn’t interest him.
In one of his articles, Shavit claimed credit for the idea of which Netanyahu is so fond: demanding Palestinian recognition of Israel as a Jewish state as a condition for ending the conflict. This is classic Bibism: a preoccupation with empty words that have no real significance. Like Netanyahu, Shavit supports a Palestinian state not because the Palestinians deserve a state, but because that’s the only way to preserve Israel’s Jewish majority and prevent the demise of the Zionist enterprise.
We on the “radical left” have a different way of looking at things. The basis of this ideology isn’t history but human beings. The guiding principle is the basic moral rule set down by Hillel the Elder: That which is despicable to you, do not do to your fellow man.
The occupation is simply immoral.
Nobody wants to live under occupation, and certainly not for 50 years. It’s immoral to control 2.5 million human beings who can’t leave their country without permission from the Shin Bet security service. It’s immoral that 120 Knesset members should decide on the property rights of millions of human beings who lack the right to vote. It’s immoral to have one law for Israelis and another law for Palestinians because there’s a special situation in the West Bank. And this is the starting point for the entire conversation: The occupation is the most abominable act being committed right now, not in 1929 or 1947.
Shavit’s worldview isn’t that of the left. He sees the disengagement from Gaza and the Oslo Accords as a failure, because Israel got nothing from them. It never enters his head that there are other people in the picture.
In one of his columns, he wrote, “Israel desperately needs the left. To save itself from the occupation, the settlements and the reactionary drift, Israel needs a strong, leading left.” And he’s right; Israel needs a left. But not that of Shavit.
Chaim Levinson
Haaretz Correspondent