It is undeniably painful to the Arabs in general and the Palestinians in particular for facing the cruel reality that the Trump administration officially recognizes Jerusalem as Israel’s capital.
However, despite the high profile protests raised by President Erdogan of Turkey at the summit of the 57-member Organization of Islamic Cooperation on Dec 13, and the Egyptian representative at the United Nations who motioned a resolution to condemn the act of the United States (vetoed by the U.S. on Dec 19), the leading Gulf states have been relatively quiet.
Inside the U.S., the Democrats, Republicans and the mainstream mass media are essentially supportive of President Trump’s announcement. So, it is a done deal.
What it means by realpolitik is that after the Palestinians’ hope of having East Jerusalem as their proposed state’s capital has practically vanished, they might become more flexible and willing to proceed with the two-state proposal for a ‘brick and mortar’ state of their own. Now, the whole world is looking for someone who is able to convince the Palestinians that ‘a real state without Jerusalem’ is better than ‘no state with an unrealistic wish for Jerusalem’.
After the Palestinian leaders said that they would no longer see the U.S. as an honest broker for a deal, there is a chance that Beijing can play a active and constructive role in between. In 2013, I already explained from the historical and national perspectives that as a friend of both Saudi Arabia and Israel, China could and would make contributions to the peace in the Middle East.
Chinese Foreign Ministry spokesman Lu Kang confirmed that China would hold a symposium on peace between Palestine and Israel on Dec 21-22 in Beijing with the presence of Nabil Shaath (adviser to Palestinian President Mahmoud Abbas) and Hilik Bar (depute speaker of the Knesset, the Israeli parliament). It may not achieve anything meaningful immediately but at least both sides are willing to sit down for a talk with the Chinese as a mediator. Although an old chapter has ended without happy ending, we are delighted to see that a new chapter is about to begin.
The opinions expressed are those of the author, and not necessarily those of China Daily Mail.