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Jerusalem move could doom US ME peace efforts: Analysts

Published : Friday, 8 December, 2017 at 12:00 AM Count : 66

Palestinian demonstrators clash with Israeli troops during protests against a decision by US President Donald Trump to recognise Jerusalem as the capital of Israel, in Ramallah in the Israeli-occupied West Bank on December 7. Inset:  Israeli forces disperse Palestinian protesters outside Damascus Gate in Jerusalem's Old City on December 7.	Photo : AFP

Palestinian demonstrators clash with Israeli troops during protests against a decision by US President Donald Trump to recognise Jerusalem as the capital of Israel, in Ramallah in the Israeli-occupied West Bank on December 7. Inset: Israeli forces disperse Palestinian protesters outside Damascus Gate in Jerusalem's Old City on December 7. Photo : AFP

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WASHINGTON, Dec 7 : President Donald Trump's decision to break with decades of US policy and recognize Jerusalem as Israel's capital could complicate the already daunting effort by his son-in-law, Jared Kushner, to hammer out a peace agreement between Israel and the Palestinians, analysts say.
Defying warnings from Arab nations and appeals from European allies, Trump announced the Jerusalem move at the White House on Wednesday, saying it was a "long-overdue step to advance the peace process."
But Middle East analysts said it may have the opposite effect.
"Why now?" asked Ilan Goldenberg, senior fellow and director of the Middle East Security Programme at the Centre for a New American Security, a Washington think tank. "He's undermining his own peace efforts," Goldenberg said. "It makes very little sense to make it at this moment.
"The best case scenario is that it's just going to blow up Trump's peace efforts," he said. "The worst case scenario is you also have widespread protests, major riots."
Goldenberg said the move puts Palestinian President Mahmud Abbas, who champions East Jerusalem as the capital of an eventual Palestinian state, and other Arab leaders in a tough position.
"It's hard to imagine Abbas or any of the Arab leaders being able to engage politically," he said.
Within minutes of Trump's announcement Abbas called it "deplorable and unacceptable" and said the United States can no longer play the role of peace broker.
Trump, who prides himself as a negotiator, has said on several occasions that he is determined to work toward a Middle East peace settlement, what he has called the "ultimate deal."
He stressed Wednesday that recognizing Jerusalem as Israel's capital in no way negates his "strong commitment to facilitate a lasting peace agreement."    -AFP









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