An elephant enters Jerusalem and Palestine grows further isolated - ÖZLEM ALBAYRAK

An elephant enters Jerusalem and Palestine grows further isolated

The commotion first started last year when it was announced that the U.S. would move its embassy in Israel to Jerusalem.

Jerusalem, being a sacred place for the three religions and having sanctuaries and prophet tombs of these religions, was a city that hangs in a very delicate balance. So delicate that when you walked into the archaic grave of a prophet you would see the Jews praying on one side of the divided room and Muslims praying on the other side. Jerusalem was a genuinely special city where the constant and intense tension made the divine atmosphere somehow gloomy.

Opening an embassy in Jerusalem means recognizing it as the capital of Israel. And no matter which state did this, the damage it would cause to the peace in the region would be equal to what an elephant in a glassware shop would do, probably even more. And whoever made the decision to open the embassy would be doing this despite being aware of the fact that it could cause a massive disturbance, possibly resulting in massacre, genocide, and turmoil in the city. This was why the announcement about U.S. President Donald Trump opening an embassy in Jerusalem sparked an outrage from the public in December.

Jerusalem has been under the occupation of Israel since 1947 despite a UN resolution. Israel has been controlling the whole city including the Palestinian district since then. Armed soldiers have been searching and interrogating people at the entrance of al-Aqsa Mosque. Furthermore, it is not possible for someone who holds a Palestinian identity card, who is not a local of the city, to enter Jerusalem from the outside. If they are not born in Jerusalem, Palestinians never have the chance to pray in the Dome of the Rock or al-Aqsa Mosque and pass away. In other words, the situation in Jerusalem had already been very vexing and discriminating for Palestinians. The U.S. recognizing Jerusalem as the capital of Israel could make the situation even more problematic and lead to unsolvable issues.

Therefore the U.S. drew great reactions. Toward the end of the year, the Organization of Islamic Cooperation was assembled with the initiative of Turkey. Muslim states took a resolution to recognize East Jerusalem as the capital of Palestine. A declaration regarding the resolution was published to call out the U.S. to "withdraw from their role in the peace process." Palestinian President Mahmoud Abbas declared that they no longer wanted the U.S. in peace talks.

Nevertheless, Trump did not back down from his decision to recognize Jerusalem as the capital of Israel. Five months after this, the decision was put into practice. The previous day the U.S. embassy was opened in Jerusalem. While one side of the screen was displaying ribbon-cutting with Trump's daughter and her Jewish husband, the other side was revealing the violence of Israel against the Palestinian protesters. Happy smiling faces on one side, and the bloody faces of dozens of civilians killed and thousands wounded, including infants and elders, on the other side were on the screen simultaneously.

Once again we are entering the holy month of Ramadan seeing dead bodies of Palestinians with anguish, feeling guilty because we couldn't provide enough support and protection for them. The Muslim world has 60 martyrs and 1700 injured in Gaza. Israel has slaughtered Palestinians almost every year, but I don't remember the casualty ever being so high. And this is just the beginning of Israel's vandalism in Jerusalem. Israel will vandalize more and more and get more callous with the support of the U.S. They have been murdering Muslims for years without a solid reason, but now they will do it blatantly with no concern whatsoever.

Palestine is even more forlorn at this point. So is the Muslim world. Because, Saudi Arabia and its comrades do not stand in the same place as they did before, and neither does Egypt. Mohammed bin Zayed, the crown prince of the UAE, and Mohammed bin Salman, the crown prince of Saudi Arabia are practically ruling the UAE and Saudi Arabia. These two princes managed to stir up hostility within the Arabian Peninsula in a few years and prioritized their common interests with Israel and the U.S. over their relations with their neighbors and fellow Muslim countries. It is also not a secret that they covertly protect the interests of Israel over Palestine. And this covert alliance gives Israel the audacity to massacre 60 Palestinians and injure 1700 more just ahead of Ramadan.

It appears that once again Turkey will be the one to overcome this crisis. Or rather, we have to! Palestinians are more vulnerable now than they have ever been in their history. May God help us.


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