Why Donald Trump's Jerusalem Red Herring Strengthens Hamas' Hand

9 December 2017, 16:41

Hamas will use this announcement to undermine the Palestinian Authority and final peace process, Maajid Nawaz says.

Two people have died in increasingly violent protests since President Trump recognised Jerusalem as Israel's capital.

Hamas also says two of its members have been killed in airstrikes by Israel on the Gaza strip.

The Israeli military says it targeted four sites belonging to the Palestinian group in response to rockets fired yesterday.

It's the latest increase in tension since the US recognised Jerusalem as Israel's capital this week.

Maajid Nawaz said that Donald Trump's decision to recognise the holy city as the state's capital, though not a departure from pledges by the three previous presidents, was a red herring that would only damage the peace process.

The LBC presenter said the announcement was "premature" and would undermine Mahmoud Abbas, the Palestinian President, while adding credence to the arguments of Ismail Haniyeh, Hamas' leader.

He said: "Whatever we do, we have to work out a way where we don't strengthen Hamas' hand on the ground and instead strengthen the secularists, Fatah.

"We've got to think of that before we make announcements like this, that's where I think Trump's major error was.

"The problem isn't Jerusalem folks, it's a red herring, the problem is how this announcement will be used by Hamas to gain more power, to capitalise on this and to undermine the Palestinian Authority and therefore jeopardising the final peace deal.

"That's the problem, not Jerusalem."

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