Though it would seem to have little real practical effect, since President Donald Trump announced moving the U.S. embassy to Jerusalem my inbox has had many passionate messages either celebrating or condemning the move. Missing, as usual, were more balanced, moderate views.
Though critics complained the initiative destroyed the “peace process,” in reality there was no such process as neither Israelis nor Palestinians seem truly ready to compromise. Israel should be able to choose its capital as all other countries do, and Palestinians, and their allies, must face the reality that Jerusalem is effectively already Israel’s capital and there is no way to peace without recognizing that. They gain nothing from their strategy of rejectionism and rage.
That said, it is hard to see how the U.S. benefits from Trump’s actions. We become more isolated from allies, haters on all sides get more motivated, including anti-American (and anti-Semitic) hatred. With this timing, resulting violence may harm all interests by hurting holiday tourism.
The U.S. and Israel also need to face reality. There is no way to make the Palestinians surrender and no way to peace without Jerusalem, at least East Jerusalem, also being the Palestinian capital. The only way forward is compromise, compromise, on all sides. But Trump’s action, so hostile to Palestinians, makes that even harder to achieve.
North Providence R.I.