Photo: NRC

US declaration on Jerusalem undermines peace process

Published 13. Dec 2017
The declaration by the US administration unilaterally recognising Jerusalem as the capital of Israel is a slap in the face of international law and stands to severely undermine genuine attempts to pursue sustainable peace.

Despite unequivocal and universal prohibition of the acquisition of territory or annexation under international law, the US is disregarding and undermining the long-standing position of the international community not to recognise the unlawful annexation of East Jerusalem by Israel. To recognise Jerusalem as the capital of Israel is to condone annexation and the occupation itself.

The US declaration may have far-reaching consequences for NRC’s humanitarian action to protect the rights of Palestinians and prevent their forcible displacement.

As a matter of both international humanitarian and human rights law, Israel, as the occupying power, is prohibited from forcibly transferring Palestinians from their homes in Jerusalem. Israel already systematically disregards this by conducting evictions, home demolitions, residency revocations, and reinforcing a coercive environment in East Jerusalem. The US administration’s declaration risks condoning these practices and other violations of international law in the occupied Palestinian territory that NRC witnesses daily. As a result, more Palestinian children will be denied access to education, families will be evicted, and communities forcibly displaced.

NRC will continue to challenge such violations and to ensure that the rights of Palestinians in East Jerusalem and elsewhere in occupied Palestine are protected. NRC further urges the international community to remain resolute in their commitment to justice in the occupied Palestinian territory, and peace between Israel and Palestine, by continuing to reject such unilateral moves.

The international community has an essential role to play in protecting the rights of Palestinians to promote a sustainable and just resolution to the Israeli-Palestinian conflict. After 50 years of occupation and ten years of siege in Gaza, a just and peaceful resolution to the conflict is what Israelis and Palestinians deserve, what the region needs, and what the world demands. The international community should insist on respect for international law and the enforcement of existing UN resolutions, while governments should use their influence to hold those responsible for violations to account.