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Trump and Xi Engage in First Conflict Over Jerusalem

(GPA) Tel Aviv – Following the first statement by the new White House press secretary that the move of the US embassy to Jerusalem was “coming soon,” Chinese President Xi Jinping has declared that East Jerusalem should be the official capital of a Palestinian state.

In a press conference on Thursday, the new White House press secretary, Sean Spicer said that talks were underway concerning the move of the US embassy in Israel from, Tel Aviv to Jerusalem and told reporters to “stay tuned.” Trump also personally said he’d be sticking to this campaign promise in an interview with Sheldon Adelson owned Israeli newspaper, Israel Hayom on Thursday morning.

Attribution-NonCommercial-ShareAlike 2.0 Generic Flickr: Presidencia de la República del Ecuador and Gage Skidmore

This move is despite warnings by the international community that the move will unnecessarily stir up more tension among Israelis and Palestinians and most likely set back diplomacy between the two nation. France’s Foreign Minister, Marc Ayrault was one of the more vocal critics, saying that the move “would have extremely serious consequences and it’s not the first time that it’s on the agenda of a U.S. president, but none have let themselves make that decision.”

The move would likely not only anger Palestinian themselves but a good portion of Israel’s regional Arab adversaries. Even some hardline pro-settlement, anti-Palestinian state Israelis are wondering if the move is worth escalating tensions since it does little in actually advancing their cause. Israeli columnist told the New York Times that this move doesn’t do much and is more an appeal to American voters and that “If you talk to serious people, if you ask the secret service, they say don’t do it.” It’s expected the move will be discussed further at an upcoming meeting between Trump and Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu in early February.

Now in response to the move by Donald Trump, the other world power is stepping in to make sure that Palestinians still have a voice in their own destiny. On the same day Trump made his announcement, Chinese President Xi Jinping told leaders of the Arab League in Egypt that the Palestinian struggle “should not be marginalized.” This comes amid Xi’s tour of the Middle East as China prepares several multi billion dollar investment packages for several countries in the region.

Xi told the Arab leaders that “China supports the peaceful process in the Middle East [and] the establishment of a Palestinian state with its capital being eastern Jerusalem.” Xi also announced a new round of aid for Palestine in the form of grants amounting to about $7.6 billion some of which will go towards building a massive solar power facility in their territory.

Xi is calling for the establishment of a universally recognized Palestinian state within the pre-1967-war borders, which is likely to set off a large crowd of Zionists. Xi is stepping up where a lot of world leaders aren’t and told the Middle Eastern leaders that “Maintaining the legitimate interests of the Palestinian people is the responsibility of the Arab League as well as the international community.”

With President Trump’s rhetoric on China being so reminiscent of cold-war US leaders hard stances on the Soviet Union, maybe it only makes sense China will rise as the new friend to the nations that are victims of US imperialism.