Jerusalem: Is a peace deal now dead?
Ignore the howls of protest from the diplomatic establishment and the anti-Israel Left, said Matthew Continetti in FreeBeacon.com. President Trump’s decision to recognize Jerusalem as the capital of Israel is “one of the boldest moves of his presidency.” For years, the elite consensus has been that recognizing Jerusalem should be one of the final steps in the Israeli-Palestinian “peace process.” In reality, however, “there is no peace process to wreck.” Meanwhile, the Jewish state has the right to choose its own capital. The Senate voted 90-0 to move our embassy to Jerusalem only six months ago, but for some reason, official recognition remains taboo. Trump, who has no use for this kind of diplomatic “doublethink,” is simply stating the truth that others prefer to avoid: “Jerusalem is Israel’s capital, full stop.”
Despite warnings that Trump’s announcement would ignite “Armageddon,” said Ralph Peters in the New York Post, the Arab world reacted with a few scattered protests. Arab leaders are no longer focused on the “Palestinian question”; they have more pressing concerns, such as how to contain the growing power of Iran. In that struggle, Israel has emerged as an “indispensable, if quiet, ally” of Saudi Arabia and other Sunni states. Nonetheless, there will be a steep price to pay for Trump’s announcement, said Aaron David Miller in Politico.com. In his “bone-headed” speech, he failed to acknowledge the Palestinians’ claim to East Jerusalem as their capital. That ends any chance they would see his administration as a trustworthy broker of a two-state solution.
Trump, in fact, “insulted Palestinians to the very core of their beings,” said David Shulman in The New York Review of Books. Jerusalem, with its many holy sites, is “the only inviolable asset Palestinians feel they still have.” Trump could have included some platitudes about working toward a shared capital, but chose instead to embrace the Israeli right wing’s vision of permanent Palestinian displacement and subjugation. “Poor, pale” Jared Kushner, said Roger Cohen in The New York Times. Trump’s son-in-law is supposedly working with the Saudis and Israelis to forge the “ultimate” peace deal. But to please his evangelical base, Trump has now clearly allied his administration with those Israelis who believe Jerusalem is theirs and that the West Bank “was deeded to Israel in the Bible.” There is no longer anything to trade for peace; “the Greater Israel project has gone too far.” ■