Trump said on the 7th of December, that he 'had determined that it is time to officially recognise Jerusalem as the capital of Israel,' and as such will be moving the American embassy away from Tel Aviv. The EU has other ideas.

Trump claimed to have made the decision as a way 'to advance the peace process.' However, it flies in the face of the Oslo accords, signed in 1993 and 1995, which demand the issue of Jerusalem as a capital be discussed only in the latter part of a peace deal.

Peace process vs. purgatory

The direct impact of Trump's statement was to elicit anger and to destabilise the region. The Arab world has seen the decision as a unilateral declaration that there will be no return to the long-promised but yet to materialise peace talks, no end to occupation, and a continuance of the gradual legitimation of illegal settlements.

Ismail Haniya, the leader of Hamas, said he took Trump's statement as a 'declaration of war' and promised a third intifada.

Saudi Arabia called it a 'flagrant provocation.' Erdogan has threatened to cut all Turkish ties with Israel. Allies and adversaries alike have criticised Trump and warned of the violence that could erupt in the Middle East. Even Israel Kratz seemed to recognise the move could ignite tension. He immediately went on Army Radio affirming that they were 'preparing for every option.' Before taking to Twitter to criticise the Palestinian government of talking peace but preparing for war.

Trump has disturbed and stoked tensions, but he may have just inadvertently revived a long-silenced peace process that has maintained #Palestine in a purgatorial state of 'peaceful' oppressive occupation and abuse.

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There have been sporadic, and largely unproductive face-to-face talks between the two sides since the meeting at Camp David in 2000. There have been moments of heightened tension and intensive violence, such as in 2009 and 2014.The latter flare-up took the lives of 73 Israelis and over 2000 Palestinians. It is important to note that outside of these aggravated conflicts, human rights abuses and occupation continues. Unlike many commentators who claimed Trump had disrupted the peace process, Jordan's King Abdullah recognised more accurately that his comments 'undermine efforts to resume the peace process.'

Embassy expectations

Trump's announcement emboldened the Israeli Prime minister, Benjamin Netanyahu. Seemingly not satisfied with the 'officiality' bestowed by an embattled American president's seal, he called for other governments mirror the recognition. Netanyahu's wishes were dashed by EU foreign affairs representative, Federica #Mogherini. Speaking in a joint press conference she said 'I know that President Netanyahu mentioned a couple of times that he expects others to follow President Trump's decision to move the embassy to #Jerusalem.

He can keep his expectations for others because, from the European Union members stateside, this will not come.'

This is a position that is unlikely to change given the historical support of the EU, as both a political partner to the PLO and an aide provider for occupied Palestine. It is also important to note the strong public sympathies within EU member states for a state of Palestine. Thousands took to the streets on Friday to protest Trump's move, echoing the symbolic votes for recognition of a Palestinian state carried by the legislatures of Britain, Spain, France and Sweden since 2014.

Crunch time

Mogherini reiterated the EU commitment to a two-state solution sharing Jerusalem as a capital for both states, to be achieved by working with international partners. She said she hoped to expand the negotiating quartet, the EU, US, UN and Russia, that are currently overseeing talks. She mentions specifically Jordan and Egypt. President Mahmoud Abbas of Palestine is currently meeting with Egyptian leader; Abdel-Fattah el-Sissi and Mogherini announced that the EU will be meeting with Abbas, in January.

Trump's comments are inflaming the situation on the ground, as Ayman Safadi, the Jordanian foreign minister has said; 'Only radicals benefit from growing tension, an absence of horizons.' However it would seem the dwindling light is galvanising those committed to peace and face-to-face negotiations may be sped up, hopefully, they will gain momentum quicker than the descent to inter-state war.