On 06 December 2017, US President Donald Trump announced to recognise Jerusalem as the capital of Israel and to relocate the US embassy from Tel Aviv to the “holy city”. In response, Palestinian leaders called for “days of rage” and a new intifada. Spontaneous as well as orchestrated mass rallies, increasing numbers of terrorist assaults and missile attacks targeting Israeli territory are likely in reaction to this diplomatic decision.

„Given its symbolism, this decision may stir up significant unrest.“

Crossing a Red Line

Since 1980, when the United Nations Security Council passed Resolution 478, Israel has been largely isolated in its consideration of Jerusalem as its capital. The announcement of the US is a challenge to the status quo regarding the city. Muslim state leaders have pointed out that this implies crossing a “red line”, and may coordinate their reaction, e.g. through the Arab League or the Organisation of Islamic Cooperation.

A New Intifada?

After Trump’s announcement, travellers to Israel are exposed to an increased risk of street protests and terrorist attacks beyond the Palestinian territories and East Jerusalem. The risk of a violent escalation is exacerbated by the pressure faced by Palestinian President Mahmoud Abbas following a recent Hamas-Fatah reconciliation agreement. Moreover, the current dispute may entail violent responses by regional militant groups, including Hezbollah, and is likely to be exploited by global terrorist networks.

Photo Credit: StateofIsrael