President Donald Trump never fails to surprise. It is always the context in which he makes his predictable announcements and the timing that could not be worse. This president is the most unconventional president that the US has ever had in all its history. His announcement that the US will officially recognize Jerusalem as Israel’s eternal capital and that he will be ordering the US Embassy to be moved to Jerusalem will create repercussions in the Palestinian world if not the whole Arab world and its allies.
|Trump recognizes Jerusalem as Israel's capital, reversing longtime U.S. policy|
In Israel, these announcements of Trump have met with great applause. Naturally, the Government Coalition is head over heels in euphoria and is close to dancing the hora. Was this Trump announcement really necessary?
We are all aware that Israel’s Knesset is in Jerusalem and this makes Jerusalem de facto capital of Israel and this does not warrant Trump’s announcement on this issue. The status quo at present on Jerusalem was never an issue and its final status has been recognized as an essential part of a final settlement between Israel and the Palestinians when both sides re-negotiate a lasting peace. Trump has put the cart before the horse because of his usual hubris and total lack of foresight. It is doubtful whether he has any plan as to how to get peace talks between Israel and the Palestinian initiated.
What Trump has done may reap praises from the present right-wing in Israel as well as providing an excuse for the Palestinians to threaten Israel with terror attacks that will result in unnecessary suffering for both sides. Trump does not understand that the Palestinians do not resemble the Swiss or any other European nation in their logic and rationality with whom one can negotiate a “peace deal” (to use Trumpist terminology). They are driven by mantras of fantasy and hatred for Israel and if it is not the Jerusalem issue it will be another issue that can ignite the Palestinian leaders to goad their people into committing violence against Israelis. The issue of the status of Jerusalem has been a hot potato since Israel’s establishment. The problem between Israel and the Palestinians is an existential one and will always remain glowing embers until some world statesman puts his/her foot in it by saying things that are best left unsaid for the sake of preventing violence and bloodshed.
Already there are threatening rumblings in the Palestinian leadership about Trump’s announcement that will reverberate across the Middle East and may even threaten the trust that is in its very initial stages between Israel and Saudi Arabia and may even threaten Israel’s tenuous relations with Egypt and Jordan. Is this really necessary? We, in Israel, do not need Trump’s announcements on Jerusalem as it is like waving a red rag to a bull. It is also detrimental to the interests of the US as well as Israel. In fact, there are reports of Israeli soldiers clashing with Palestinians who are protesting Trump’s Jerusalem decision. The clashes have already started between the Palestinians and the IDF. Trump has already struck a match on the already glowing embers. This is the first time that a US president must bear the blame for an unnecessary provocation.