The US is withdrawing from Syria, but is it also withdrawing from Jerusalem? - ZEKERIYA KURŞUN

The US is withdrawing from Syria, but is it also withdrawing from Jerusalem?

We have been discussing the U.S.’s decision to withdraw from Syria for days. Questions such as “How did they make this decision; what was their purpose; was Turkey’s determination about the east of Euphrates effective?” are occupying our minds. While we are all pleased with the withdrawal of the U.S., whose presence in the region was not legitimate anyway, it is worrying us that no one knows what the consequences of this decision will be. Because in this case, aren’t we supposed to say “OK, the U.S. is withdrawing. Now its Russia’s turn”? On the other hand, the fact that the kind of deals the U.S. made through its representatives with the actors in the region other than Turkey is still unknown, requires us to follow the process very carefully.

The sign of not withdrawing: Jerusalem

Those who argued that there has been a division in the U.S.’s foreign policy since 2017 and Trump’s disharmony with state traditions, have never discussed his decision to recognize Jerusalem as the capital of Israel as an extension of this policy. Although the UN General Assembly, and not only the Muslim world, decided against it, the U.S. did not take a step back.

Believing that the U.S. is withdrawing from the region would be negligence unless the U.S. renounces its decision to declare Jerusalem as Israel’s capital and gives up its policies in the region based on protecting the interests of Israel. It shouldn’t be forgotten that the key to peace in the region and in the world is the Palestine issue, hence the Jerusalem issue, which is a crucial part of it. However, Jerusalem, which has been under occupation for 100 years and is one of the most disputed places on earth, entered a new phase of this occupation in 2018.

The U.S. president belongs to a group of people who believe that toward the end of the world Jesus Christ will descend upon earth and establish the Kingdom of Heaven. Zionist-Evangelists believe that they should work to bring the end of the world in order for this to happen. According to their belief, first, it is necessary to establish a Jewish state, with Jerusalem as its capital. While Trump declared that Jerusalem is the capital of Israel, didn’t Netanyahu declare that Israel is a Jewish state? According to this understanding, first there will be an Israeli state, with Jerusalem as its capital, extending from the Nile to the Euphrates, and then Jesus Christ will descend down on Earth, and he both will eradicate this state and also establish a new empire. Who in the U.S. has opposed this understanding which sounds like a messianic dream, or even like a comedy? Didn’t pastor Brunson who brought Turkey and the U.S. on the brink of war represent this idea?

In short, Jerusalem is under occupation, and as long as this occupation continues no one should think that the U.S. is withdrawing from the region.

Jerusalem should always remain on the agenda

Jerusalem has been occupied many times throughout its history. It was even destroyed and rebuilt again during ancient times. The peace that lasted for centuries after the Muslim conquest was once again ended with the occupation of the crusaders. The Crusader Kingdom established during the Middle Ages ceased to exist after it was defeated by Salahuddin Ayyubid. In 1516, Pax Ottomana (Ottoman Peace) started in Jerusalem and lasted for four centuries. In 1917, the occupation of Jerusalem by the British created the catastrophes we have today. However, the actual occupation of Jerusalem took place after the Second World War under the U.S.’s plan to establish its influence in the Middle East. Therefore, the partition plan for Palestine coincides with the year 1947 when the U.S. took over control of the region from Britain. This was followed by the foundation of Israel, and the policies of the U.S. in the region were completely based on the Israel’s preservation.

The historical process I discussed above has entered a new phase today. This new phase started with Trump’s declaration of Jerusalem as the capital of Israel. In those days, Turkey’s stance mobilized both the Muslim world and the majority of the UN General Assembly. In response to that, the Democrats in the U.S. who opposed Trump at every opportunity preferred to remain silent about this development. The fact that the very same group who remained silent before is now opposing the decision to withdraw from Syria actually shows that there is no distinction between the Republicans and the Democrats when it comes to the U.S.’s policies in the region. Almost all of them agree that overtly or covertly sharing the belief of the Evangelists is in the U.S.’s interests.

It is a must for the future of world peace to share the world’s public opinion that how wrong and risky this understanding is. It is essential for the sustainability of future world peace to constantly share how perverse and wrong this understanding is with the world public. Whatever form the world’s and the region’s agenda take, the Jerusalem issue should never be off the agenda. Jerusalem should always be a part of international gatherings, scientific and popular works, artworks and most importantly agendas of politicians.

Such an activity will take place this weekend (Dec. 29-30) in Istanbul as well. There will be an international symposium sponsored by Bağcılar Municipality and organized by the Fatih Sultan Mehmet Foundation University and Association of Researchers on the Middle East and Africa in coordination with the Council of Palestinian Scholars. Of course, many similar activities have been organized in Turkey before. However, this meeting is approaching the issue from a different perspective and it focuses on a special aspect of Jerusalem under the Ottoman rule. The “scholarly life in Jerusalem” during the Ottoman era, the longest and most stable period in Islamic history, will be discussed by many experts coming from all around the world. Thus, both Jerusalem’s Islamic identity and the Ottoman era will be analyzed in detail.

I strongly suggest you attend this rich symposium, which will be taking place at the Haliç (Golden Horn) Campus of Fatih Sultan Mehmet Foundation University and where the scholars, madrasas, lodges and zawiyas, educational programs and book culture in Jerusalem will be discussed.

You can find the details of this program at the link below:


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