Many a diplomat’s heart skipped a beat yesterday, not because they were excited but rather because things just got so much more complicated and worrisome. In a surprise move the 45th President of the United States, Donald J. Trump, has officially recognized Jerusalem as the one capital of Israel and will be moving the US embassy there in 2018, away from internationally recognized de facto capital Tel Aviv. International reactions followed, including the Netherlands which globally has a somewhat important standing as a diplomatic broker.
Rutte III-Administration vs. Party-views.
On behalf of the current Dutch administration the Minister of Foreign Affairs, Halbe Zijlstra, told a US delegation in Brussels that the move is “Unwise and counter-productive”. Other EU countries also expressed the same sentiments to US Secretary of Foreign Affairs, Rex Tillerson. “This will be reversing the peace process rather than moving it forward”, Zijlstra further said to NOS News.
US decision to recognize Jerusalem as capital of Israel and move embassy is unwise and counterproductive. Two-state solution remains the Dutch objective. UNSC resolution 478 is clear: annexation east-Jerusalem is illegal.
— Halbe Zijlstra (@HalbeZijlstra) 6 december 2017
The Minister’s Department of Foreign Affairs also released a statement regarding traveling advice in Israel with the following:
“Recent political developments have increased the chances of protests and demonstrations in Jerusalem and at checkpoints and transitions to the Palestinian Territories. Avoid demonstrations and places where many people come. Be alert and follow local media.”
Both the VVD and D66-parties denounce the move, both whom are currently in government, “”It’s like holding a burning match above an oil barrel, then dropping it and hoping the wind will just blow it away”, Sjoerd Sjoerdsma of D66 said to NOS News.
VVD-colleague Han ten Broeke agrees and stated: “It’s just as unwise to recognize the Palestinian State now. You shouldn’t be handing out the peace talks prize in advance. That Jerusalem is the capital of Israel is just a fact. But it’s unwise to diplomatically recognize that already.”
The Rutte III-administration released a further statement:
“The Netherlands is using good diplomatic relations with both Israeli and Palestinian Authorities to preserve and realize the two-state solution: an independent, democratic and viable Palestinian state alongside a secure and internationally recognized Israel. The Netherlands is also working to improve mutual relations between Israelis and Palestinians”.
Other parties in the Netherlands however are in support of the move, such as current government party “Christian Union”, though curiously the much bigger Christian party of CDA (also in government) does not appear to be supportive. Geert Wilders’ PVV submits an annual motion to move the Dutch embassy to Jerusalem and found support this year from Thierry Baudet’s FvD, Christian Union and SGP (orthodox protestant).
Wilders has responded to the news that it is “Fantastic news”, calling the Dutch government “cowardly” for not following suit. Thierry Baudet also finds it a “Great plan” to move the Dutch embassy.
International Response – The Effects.
Many countries, specifically Arab nations, have responded furiously to Trump’s plans – in particular Syria and Saudi-Arabia, the latter who called it “a blatant provocation”. Palestinian authorities have dubbed it a “Kiss of death” for the peace process, especially since they too see Jerusalem as the (future) capital of their nation.
There are already incidents happening, potentially due to Hamas calling for a new Intifada, which are now surfacing.
Earlier today a man in Amsterdam vandalized a Jewish kosher restaurant, he was reported by bystanders who saw the man waving a Palestinian flag, wearing a Keffiyeh and kept him busy until police arrived. As soon as officers appeared at the scene and attempted to engage him, the man took a bat to the windows of the restaurant, the officers appear momentarily baffled and call in for back up while the man rummages around inside and grabs an Israeli flag – presumably from within the restaurant.
Once the man appears outside again the policemen decide they’ve had enough and tackle the man, who can be heard either yelling statements or to be in pain during his arrest. Bystanders reported the man also shouted “Allahu Akbar”.