Statement on the recognition of Jerusalem as the capital of Israel by the USA

US President Donald Trump's announcement to recognise Jerusalem as the capital of Israel and to move the US embassy there has not only exacerbated tension in the Middle East, but has also provoked criticism and rejection worldwide. The US is violating its obligations under international law.

President Trump justified the decision by the decision of the US Congress in 1995 calling on the US government to move the message from Tel Aviv to Jerusalem and to recognise Jerusalem as the capital of Israel. Trump is also trying to make a name for itself on the domestic front. Finally, he keeps his election promise, which should be particularly well received by his Evangelical voters. The US President also believes that this decision is conducive to the peace process between Israel and the Palestinians.

However, there is international consensus that the annexation of East Jerusalem by Israel is illegal. This is also confirmed by several UN Security Council resolutions. Resolution 478 of 1980, for example, annuls the Jerusalem Law, which enshrines this very annexation. It also calls on all UN Member States to withdraw their diplomatic missions from Jerusalem. Resolution 2334 of 2016 also reaffirms that a change to the 1967 borders, including Jerusalem, is not permitted. The United States is acting in contravention of these UN Security Council resolutions and is also violating the international legal obligation that no state may recognise or support an illegal situation.

The US decision should not be conducive to the peace process, at least in the short term. According to Saeb Erekat, chief negotiator of the Palestinian Authority, the decision is equivalent to the destruction of the long-lasting peace process. The US would no longer have the right to play a role in this process, Erekat continued. The Swiss Foreign Department is also of the opinion that this recognition "complicates a negotiated, just and lasting peace between Israelis and Palestinians on the basis of a two-state solution".

Horyzon together with the partner organisations in the occupied Palestinian territories condemn this unilateral measure by the USA. We welcome the fact that the Federal Council shares our assessment and encourage it to continue its commitment to a comprehensive negotiated solution guaranteeing the rights of all people living in Israel/Palestine.