With all the focus in the news, mostly negative, on Trump’s decision to declare Jerusalem the capital of Israel, and move our embassy, you’d be forgiven for thinking Trump just made the biggest mistake of his presidency. However, there is no mistake about it, Trump’s decision was not only a smart and different move, but a courageous move that shows real leadership. This decision may just lead to new results in the elusive Middle East peace process.
It is fairly obvious that this has annoyed the Palestinians. However, that was bound to happen. In a conflict where walking in the wrong part of town can trigger violent protests, declaring a city as contentious as Jerusalem, the Jewish capital, is momentous. That being said, this was the right decision on the part of the Trump administration. The idea that this has hurt the “peace process,” is as absurd as expecting Moore to pull out of the Alabama Senate race. There is no peace process, at the moment. It is plain and simple. There has not been a valid peace talk since 2008. The last breakthrough came 23 years ago in 1994 with the Oslo Accords, and even that proved futile. The idea that this move by President Trump, alone, would be responsible for derailing a non-existent peace process is a statement that is misleading. If anything, the recognition of Jerusalem as Israel’s capital could force the Palestinians to come to the realization that Israel is not disappearing.
The U.S., under the leadership of Donald Trump is a true Ally to the Jewish State. The only way toward achieving their goal of having forwarding the peace process, will be to recognize Israel and accept negotiated terms.
The second claim that you are bound to hear, is that Arab States are turning against us. Saudi Arabia, Jordan, Egypt, and Turkey, all allies, have openly criticized the move. They have to say this. In the open, they have to save face. The idea of solidarity with the Palestinians, in the Arab world, is so powerful, they would otherwise lose the support of their citizenry. But this will not affect our relationship with these countries, or their new budding relations with Israel. They need Israel and the U.S. just as much as we need them. The Saudis, Egypt, and Turkey, desperately need the help of Israel and the U.S., especially with the terror threat in the region. Israel is a key to the success of those countries in turning away terrorism, and keeping their regimes in power. As well, Jordan, a country that has come out strong against declaring Jerusalem as Israel’s capital, has multiple trade deals with the Jewish state. Jordan gets most of their water from Israel, so seeing any instability in Israel would hurt them more than they could bare. Jordan currently has new trade deals in place, and plans to build a water desalination plant. Turning against Israel and the U.S. would doom these projects.
Lastly, this had to happen. In 1995, Congress, with huge majorities, passed the Jerusalem Embassy Act. This bill demanded the change of location for the United States Embassy from Tel Aviv, to Jerusalem. The past three presidents have all said they would carry through on this promise. After all, it was a clearly popular decision. It passed the Senate 90-0, and the House 375-37. Then, after promising to move the Embassy, and declare Jerusalem the undivided capital of the Jewish People, all three reneged on this promise and signed a waiver to push back on this promise. The decision by the current administration to move the Embassy, is a follow through on this promise. We will finally enforce a law that passed 22 years ago. It had to happen, and we are seeing a president that finally follows both the actions of Congress, and more importantly his word.
The decision by Donald Trump to make this recognition is not a dumb move, it is courageous and shows true leadership. This decision will make no difference at worst, and at best can be an innovative move, by an innovative President. Trump is attempting to force the pace of a peace process that has been nascent for a couple decades. For this he should be complimented and given the benefit of the doubt.