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Donald Trump's Dutch movement is a dangerous precedent



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Within a few months of the victory of Israel in the six-day war in 1967, the UN Security Council adopted a resolution that unambiguously mentions the international position on the captured Arab countries. Resolution 242 underlined the "inadmissibility of the acquisition of territory by war" and confirmed that "fair and lasting peace" should be based on principles, including the "withdrawal of Israeli armed forces from the territories occupied in the recent conflict." This was the cornerstone of the subsequent talks on the Arab-Israeli conflict. Donald Trump again demonstrated the reckless non-observance of international norms when he announced that the US should recognize Israeli sovereignty over the occupied Golan Heights.

In doing so, the US President made his boastful promise to give a "final deal" on the end of the Arab-Israeli conflict, which seems even more pointless. How can the United States link respect in the Arab world when its head appears to be in violation of international law? Indeed, Mr. Trump has set a dangerous precedent that can cause consequences far beyond the region. Immediately threaten the position of the West, for example, about the Russian connection to the Crimea.

Golan Heights – as indicated in resolution 242 – is the Syrian territory occupied by Israel since 1967. The Jewish state used Israeli law in 1981 in that region, but the international community refused to join. Previous US leaders have tried to resolve this issue by negotiating an internationally accepted "land for peace" approach. This principle enabled Anwar Sadat and Menachem Begin to secure a historic treaty between Egypt and Israel in 1979, which led to the Israeli withdrawal from the Sinai Peninsula.

Two decades later, former US President Bill Clinton approached the agreement between Syria and Israel before the negotiations collapsed in 2000 due to conflicts over the control of the Galilean coast. However, Mr Trump seems to believe that he can oppose international conventions. Prior to this, he ignored the warnings of US and Arab allies in Washington and turned seven decades of US policy by recognizing Jerusalem as the capital of Israel and moving the US Embassy there.

This has seriously undermined one of the three key issues at the heart of the conflict – the status of the disputed holy city. Now the US president has undermined the second – the return of occupied land. There are concerns that it intends to act on the third – the right to return Palestinian refugees.

Perhaps he has bet that by pre-empting the toughest issues, he can force an agreement for the Palestinians who leave them with little space. This is completely irresponsible and can endanger more extremism and instability in the region. Mr Trumpe's measures are forage for Iran and militant groups such as Hizbollah and Hamas.

The Arab leaders, who are battling the Syrian dictator Bashar al-Assad, and who favor Trump's war effort against Iran over the difficult situation of the Palestinians, can not be understood as supporting the surrender of Arab countries to Israel. What's worse, Mr Trum's announcement was timed to give the Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu an edge over the 9 April elections.

Only a few in the Arab world expects the US to be a fair mediator. But for a long time, he is a predominant diplomatic player. Palestinians should at least expect the similarity of impartiality. Mr Trump's inadequate policy in the Middle East seems to consist only of punishing Iran, which blends into the right-wing government of Israel, and attracting petrodollars from the autocracy of Saudi Arabia and the United Arab Emirates. This does not mean good strategy.

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