UMD students divided on Trump Jerusalem decision

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By Jackie Budko
For Mitzpeh
@JackieBudko

 

U.S. President Donald Trump (left) and President of the Palestinian Authority Mahmoud Abbas (right) shake hands at a meeting in the Oval Office of the White House. Official White House photo by Shealah Craighead, via Wikimedia Commons.

 

Since the end of World War II, Israel and Palestine have been fighting over Jerusalem and the issue of to whom the city belongs.

Both Israel and Palestine claim Jerusalem as their capital and as a sacred religious site, but Israel currently controls the entire city.

On Dec. 6, President Trump announced that he will recognize Jerusalem as the capital of Israel, declaring “it was the right thing to do,” according to TIME Magazine.

America has been the primary mediator between the Israelis and Palestinians for decades, and remaining neutral allows for them to remain a credible negotiator.

Presidential candidates, including Trump, have said in the past that they would move the American embassy from Tel Aviv to Jerusalem. However, Trump is the first president to carry through with his campaign promise to the extent that he is announcing a move of the embassy during his presidency.

Sophomore nursing major Taryn Myrick sees it as the president following through with his promises.

“We’ve never seen a politician carry through with his campaign promises like Trump does,” said Myrick.

Though Trump did not explicitly say that America sides with Israel or Palestine, many students have voiced their concerns about Trump’s announcement, saying his actions imply that the U.S. sides with Israel and could increase tensions in the Middle East.

“There’s a reason why the church and state are separate,” said sophomore public health major Adam Stombler. “It’s such a religiously tense area that I think any wrong move can cause worldwide problems.”

Senior anthropology major Moriah James believes trouble is coming soon.

“People already died from protests since Trump’s announcement, and I am scared to see what’s going to happen in the coming weeks,” said James.

Ellie Cromwell, a sophomore architecture major, said she is concerned about her future plans to study abroad. “I plan to go to Europe in the spring, and foreigners already don’t like Americans, so I am afraid for my safety,” she said.

Cromwell also said the protests didn’t ease her fears. “I think it’s only going to get worse,” she said.

On the other hand, Myrick said that this could be a stepping stone for peace.

“I think we need someone to be brave and push the Israeli and Palestinian conflict in the direction of peace, and I believe that was [Trump’s] intention,” said Myrick.

Whether or not Trump’s actions were a move toward peace has yet to be determined. At this moment however, it is a bold move that has caused students at this university to think about the future of America’s involvement in the Middle East.

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