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Trump Risks Starting a New Intifada

The Trump administration has been signaling [1] that the president may formally recognize Jerusalem as Israel’s capital in the coming days. There are already very negative reactions [2] in the region to the suggestion that he would do this:

Palestinian militant Islamist group Hamas has reportedly threatened a new intifada if the United States starts recognizing Jerusalem as the capital of Israel or moves its embassy to the holy city.

Although it seems as if the embassy will stay put for now, officials close to President Donald Trump revealed last week that he was considering declaring Jerusalem the capital of Israel, even though it was made clear to him that the move would endanger American diplomats in the area.

Mahmoud Abbas has also been voicing his strong opposition [3]:

According to a spokesman, Abbas was holding a series of phone calls on Sunday with world leaders both to “explain the dangers of any decision to move the embassy to Jerusalem or recognise [Jerusalem] as Israel’s capital”.

“Any American step related to the recognition of Jerusalem as capital of Israel, or moving the US embassy to Jerusalem, represents a threat to the future of the peace process and is unacceptable for the Palestinians, Arabs and internationally,” Abbas told a group of visiting Arab lawmakers from Israel.

There is nothing to be gained for anyone by offering this recognition and something to be lost by almost everyone involved. Whatever symbolic value it may have for Israel will be quickly canceled out by the tangible costs that will follow because of the violence that it will predictably stir up. Recognizing Jerusalem as Israel’s capital is supposedly the “pro-Israel” position to take, yet the action would be very harmful to Israeli security and to its relationships with its regional neighbors. Americans would be put at greater risk in Israel and Palestine and throughout the region, and U.S. relations with almost all predominantly Muslim countries would be damaged in exchange for pandering to hard-liners here and in Israel. It would be yet another insulting slap in the face to the Palestinians and a possibly fatal blow to whatever remains of the “peace process.” One could scarcely ask for a more gratuitous, irresponsible gesture than this, so it makes sense that Trump is probably going to do it.

12 Comments (Open | Close)

12 Comments To "Trump Risks Starting a New Intifada"

#1 Comment By bkh On December 4, 2017 @ 7:50 am

There is peace coming to the Mid-East. It will require a little more patience. The US will not part of it. Saudi has shown recent moves to work more with Israel. Outside the Palestinians, a few terrorist groups, and Iran, there isn’t much that oppose Israel at the moment. Egypt and Saudi have there own issues to deal with. Any major move by Iran will be met with force by Saudi and America.

#2 Comment By Youknowho On December 4, 2017 @ 8:56 am

“One could scarcely ask for a more gratutous, irresponsible than this, so it makes sense that Trump is probably going to do it”

That’s the problem in a nutshell. We have had bad Presidents before. WE have had incompetent Presidents before. But we would never say “OF COURSE, he will do it” when contemplating an asinine policy.

I try to be understanding of Trump voters, but when I think of who they saddled us with, I feel that a few whacks above the head would be appropriate”

#3 Comment By dunno On December 4, 2017 @ 9:19 am

“One could scarcely ask for a more gratuitous, irresponsible gesture than this, so it makes sense that Trump is probably going to do it.”

My fear in a nutshell.

On the other hand Trump also has a track record of not doing what he says or hints he will do. Indeed, he’s done hardly anything of the big things he said or threatened he would do.

No wall. Immigrants still pouring in. Bad trade deals still in place. H1-B visa program letting in a record number of foreign workers to take American jobs. Companies still outsourcing and off-shoring. Israel still cashing its humongous annual foreign aid checks. Big talk and no action on “Rocket Man”. Etc etc.

Why would anyone expect him to actually do what he said?

The safest prophecy is “we’ll see”.

#4 Comment By KXB On December 4, 2017 @ 9:59 am

Abbas has been an un-elected leader of the PA for over a decade now. He holds no real power, and is seen by many Palestinians as just an Israeli/US stooge – he keeps the peace in exchange for some economic crumbs for Fatah-connected groups.

#5 Comment By risk assessment On December 4, 2017 @ 10:17 am

Trump’s son-in-law tried to subvert US policy by getting the Russians to delay a UN Security Council vote condemning Israeli settlements in the West Bank. Doing Israel’s bidding (and the systematic lying that followed) led to Mueller’s first indictments, putting Trump’s whole presidency on the line.

So yes, a guy who risked his whole presidency by allowing his son-in-law – a known ultra-Zionist – to access to the highest levels of the US government, is quite likely willing to risk an intifada by a stupid, gratuitous action like this.

#6 Comment By Youknowho On December 4, 2017 @ 11:40 am

Face it. We are caught in a Three Stooges short. Only it is not funny in real life.

#7 Comment By EarlyBird On December 4, 2017 @ 11:42 am

This is classic Trump: just throw red meat at his base to keep them whipped up into a frenzy, and to distract from his constant and massive failures. This ridiculous, counter-productive action is purely about symbolism for symbolism’s sake.

#8 Comment By Grumpy Old Man On December 4, 2017 @ 11:43 am

I don’t support the move, but I predict it will blow over.

#9 Comment By Daniel (not Larrison) On December 5, 2017 @ 8:58 am

To me, there is no clearer illustration on why Donald J. Trump is one of the worst, if not THE worst, Presidents this country has ever had.

Then again, I remember W…and Trump hasn’t achieved that level of unnecessary killing and mayhem.


#10 Comment By and did those feet On December 5, 2017 @ 9:52 am

@Grumpy Old Man : “I don’t support the move, but I predict it will blow over.”

How many crusades and other wars have been fought over the question of who rules Jerusalem? Over how long a period of time?

So no, it’s not likely to “blow over”. Fights over Jerusalem never really end. They just wax and wane in intensity.

It ought to be declared an international city and put it under some kind of joint Christian/Jewish/Muslim authority, maybe even the UN.

#11 Comment By rayray On December 5, 2017 @ 11:17 am

@and did those feet
I’ve heard that suggestion re: Jerusalem before and I think it’s a great one.

#12 Comment By bt On December 5, 2017 @ 5:06 pm

“Then again, I remember W…and Trump hasn’t achieved that level of unnecessary killing and mayhem.”


Short history:

-Reagan made Nixon look pretty good.

-W made Reagan look Pretty good.

-Trump makes W look pretty good.


Each is worse than the next. One can only imagine the next one the GOP will send in to save the village by burning it down.