Days of Palestine – Washinton
The administration of United States President Joe Biden has signaled it is upgrading its diplomatic mission to Palestinians, which is currently located within the US embassy in Jerusalem after former President Donald Trump downgraded the status of the mission.
The Palestinian Affairs Unit (PAU), which operated within the US embassy in Israel, will now be redesignated as the US Office of Palestinian Affairs (OPA), and, while remaining in the embassy in Israel, will report directly to the Bureau of Near Eastern Affairs in the US Department of State “on substantive matters”.
The PAU was created in 2019 when Trump decided to close the US consulate in occupied East Jerusalem, which had served as the de facto embassy to the Palestinians.
Republican lawmakers and former Trump administration officials criticized the Biden administration’s plan to upgrade the Palestinian Affairs Unit in the U.S. Embassy in “Israel” to a separate office reporting directly to the State Department, calling the move a de-facto effort to divide Jerusalem.
“The Biden Administration’s decision is wrong and not how America should treat Israel, one of our closest allies in the world,” the lawmakers said in a statement.
Meanwhile, the US continues to fund the Israeli occupation military with billions to buy weapons to kill Palestinians, the Republican lawmakers claimed that Biden’s administration’s decision will only further incite violence in the region.
In this context, the US gave $3.8bn (£2.7bn) in aid to the Israeli occupation in 2020. Almost all of this aid was for military assistance.
The Republican lawmakers against Biden Administration’s decision want to strengthen their terrorist ally against the Palestinian people who live under daily suffering from the occupation since the Nakba 1948.
Back to History, since the 1995 Jerusalem Embassy Act, the heads of both political parties in the US have signed a waiver every six months to prevent the American embassy from being moved from Tel Aviv to Jerusalem.
Under international law, Jerusalem’s sovereignty is in abeyance, meaning in a state of temporary disuse or suspension. Israel’s annexation of West Jerusalem in 1948 was a violation of the UN resolution 181 which partitioned Palestine, under which the city was supposed to be internationally administered.
Meanwhile, East Jerusalem is considered occupied territory since Israel took control of the area in 1967, as recognized in the UN resolution 446 adopted on 22 March 1979, rendering all Israeli claims to the area illegal, null and void.
The Republican lawmakers follow the steps of the former US President Donald Trump to incite the violence against Palestinians and confirm the “Israeli” sovereignty against Palestinians in the occupied Jerusalem which is a flagrant violation of International law.
Prior to attaining office, Donald Trump promised that the US embassy would be relocated to Jerusalem as part of his election campaign, telling the American Israel Public Affairs Committee (AIPAC) in 2016: “We will move the American embassy to the eternal capital of the Jewish people, Jerusalem.”
On Wednesday 6 December, President Trump announced that the US would formally recognize Jerusalem as Israel’s capital and would start preparations to move the embassy to the historic city.
The aftermath of Trump’s announcement saw all Palestinian parties unanimously reject the decision, with the Palestinian Authority (PA) pledging to cut all contact with the US and calling for Palestinian unity. Hamas called for a new intifada to counter the decision.
Protests took place across the occupied territories the following day, and Palestinian leaders called for three “Days of Rage” to begin after Friday prayers the next day.
Demonstrations took place across the occupied territories over the following weekend, with thousands of Palestinian taking to the streets in Jerusalem, Hebron, Bethlehem, Ramallah, Nablus, Tulkarm, and the Gaza Strip.
Over the next four days, Israeli occupation forces killed four Palestinians and wounded 1,632 others. One week later the number of those injured had risen to 3,400, with over 340 Palestinians having been arrested.
As of 12 March, 14 people have been killed in the West Bank and East Jerusalem by Israeli forces since Trump’s announcement, with at least 5,293 injured as a result of inhaling tear gas, enduring beatings, or being fired upon with rubber bullets or live ammunition, according to UN OCHA.
As of 11 March, 19 people in Gaza have been killed and at least 1,083 injured as a result of Israeli occupation forces’ heavy-handed response to unarmed Palestinian protesters.
At least 2,182 Palestinians have been arrested or placed under administrative detention since 6 December, many during protests and others during the regular night-raids conducted in towns and villages in the occupied West Bank.
Meanwhile, Trump’s decision was met with condemnation from the international community, with protests taking place across the Middle East, as well as in Malaysia, Indonesia, Afghanistan, Somalia, Pakistan, Bangladesh, and South Africa. Much of Europe saw large protests, including the UK, Germany, Macedonia, Austria and France, as well as demonstration in major US cities.
World leaders also expressed their disapproval, with French President Emmanuel Macron and German Chancellor Angela Merkel both emphasizing that their countries did not support the move, whilst EU Foreign Policy Chief Federica Mogherini voiced “serious concern” over the decision.