Donald Trump’s announcement recognizing Jerusalem as the capital of Israel and getting architects busy on designing the new U.S. embassy is new challenge for supporters of the two-state solution. While Trump gave lip service to such an outcome, even mainstream U.S. analysts said on the cable news networks today that his move is such a rebuke to Palestinians and their Arab neighbors that it has destroyed any credibility the U.S. claimed to have as a broker and made it impossible for Palestinian President Mahmoud Abbas to negotiate with the United States.
The move is meant to “appease” big donors such as Sheldon Adelson as well as evangelical Christians, Marc Ginsberg, a former ambassador to Morocco, said angrily on MSNBC. Trump, he said, “pushed the two state solution over the cliff.” And put “a knife in the back of the Palestinian leadership.”
“It’s a whole new ballgame now,” Khaled Elgindy of Brookings tweeted today, and cited this statement by Mohammad Dahlan of Fatah, calling for an end to the farce of the peace process.
While Ron Mott, reflecting the views of Palestinians from Jerusalem, said that the move solidifies the view that there is “apartheid” in Palestine. Apartheid– on MSNBC.
Many liberal Zionists and mainstream voices responded to the news with despair on MSNBC. Steve Clemons said that the move gives Israel “one of its prizes” in negotiations without it having to withdraw from settlements or perform in other ways. “American credibility is shot,” said Joel Rubin, a former Obama State Department aide. While Andrea Mitchell of NBC said the move was a particular insult to King Abdullah of Jordan who came to Washington last week and appealed to Trump not to extend the recognition and who called Trump in the last day to repeat the warning.
Jared Kushner may think the Saudis are OK with this, but if so he is misinformed, Mitchell said.
“A huge give for Israel and basically nothing for Palestinians,” Ilan Goldenberg, a former State Department official under Obama, tweeted.
Asks Palestinians for calmness and to seek peace. No peace under occupation. We will go on our way till liberating the whole Palestine.
Many see Trump’s move as fostering the BDS campaign, for boycott, divestment and sanctions against Israel. Yousef Munayyer of the US Campaign for Palestinian Rights seizes on the fact that Trump’s statement rips the mask off U.S. neutrality and should end any illusions about the promises of the peace process. (Via the Institute for Middle East Understanding)
Trump has demolished the foundation of the peace process as no Palestinian leader could engage in negotiations this transparently biased toward Israel.
There were few believers in American mediation left, and now, mercifully, there will be fewer. This clarification should add to the ranks of those calling for civil society action to hold Israel accountable for violations of Palestinian rights through the use of boycotts, divestment and sanctions.
The US Campaign for Palestinian Rights has a statement making the same point: it is long past time for the world to “pressure” Israel, via boycotts, divestment and sanctions (BDS).
Ashira, a Jerusalem journalist, echoes the analysis of the liberals on MSNBC:
Trump speech declares Oslo Accord dead he declares the failure of 20 years of negotiations he killed the peace process and has turned the table on the Palestinian Authority strengthening those calling for one state
Chemi Shalev of Haaretz: “So far, Trump’s speech is pure Bibi.”
Khaled Elgindy of Brookings said the move is the “straw that breaks the camel’s back” in terms of U.S. credibility as a negotiator. Trump had made the decision on the basis of “parochial, narrow” and “sectarian” interests, hinting at the importance of the Israel lobby and rightwing evangelicals.
Daniel Levy echoes that view at the National Interest. The move is a winner among “the very small cohort of conservative American Jewish support [Trump] carries, especially the subset of that cohort known as Sheldon Adelson,” he writes. But the shift may end up favoring Palestinians by generating “a demand among the public for a game-changing shift in strategy away from the current comfort zone of an American-Israeli defined peace process.” That might be code for BDS.
Josh Rogin of the Washington Post says that both Defense Secretary James Mattis and Secretary of State Rex Tillerson opposed the move on security grounds (shades of Marshall and Forrestal opposing recognition of Israel and pushing for return of refugees).
J Street has put out an anguished statement calling the decision “premature and divisive” and likely to result in violence. The ask? “Members of Congress and Jewish communal leaders concerned about Israel’s security and future should not support this misguided and damaging decision.”
But look at Democratic leader Chuck Schumer. He urged Trump to end his indecision and recognize Jerusalem as the capital.
Schumer is in the same camp as Breitbart, which calls the move “an event of almost biblical significance.”
And Elliott Abrams. At Haaretz he goes full-metal Zionist, in a piece titled, “Bravo President Trump for standing up to Palestinian blackmail.”
The refusal to acknowledge Jerusalem as Israel’s capital is part of refusing full and normal legitimacy to the Jewish State…Donald Trump didn’t make Jerusalem the capital of Israel any more than the United Nations made Israel the Jewish State. He simply acknowledged a fact.