The fragile status quo in the Middle East is in danger of being shattered, with consequences that will reverberate for years to come, in the wake of United States President Donald Trump's precipitate decision to recognise Jerusalem as the capital of Israel and establish an embassy there this week. Mr Trump's dramatic departure from decades of American policy has disadvantaged the equal claim that Palestinians have lain to Jerusalem. Few would disagree that the move has severely undercut Washington's standing and ability to act as an honest broker in any future peace talks. His decision has also placed the US on the opposite side of nations that have striven to be strictly fair to both parties to the dispute.
A clear majority of the members of the United Nations opposed the move which was first announced by Mr Trump last December. Not all opposition, however, has been of the same degree and tone. Most nations feel the pain of the Palestinians, a community of mainly Arab Muslims who fled or were driven out of their homes some 70 years ago when Israel was created. Some countries side with the Palestinians because of a shared view about Israel and its actions; or lend their support on the basis that these are a people displaced and disadvantaged for decades; or because they have an affinity through their shared religion.
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