BLOG 376 December 18, 2017
The cost of President Trump’s arbitrary decision to move the American Embassy to Jerusalem and recognize it as the solidarity capital of Israel has mounted during the last week. Here’s some of the aftermath.
Four Palestinians were killed and dozens wounded. Eighty were known downed or wounded. Westerns often don’t realize many Arab Palestinians are Christian and caught up in the chaos. All of America’s allies stood firm in opposing Trump’s arbitrary action. Seeing an opportunity for change, Prime Minister Netanyahu flew to Brussels to ask for members of the European Union to follow Trump’s lead. Their answer was a firm no. Netanyahu then turned to French President Emmanuel Macron in Paris. Once more, the Israeli Prime Minister received an emphatic no. Czech foreign minister Lubomir Zaoralek said Monday that Trump’s announcement last week “can’t help us.” All want an international commission to settle these issues with a two-state solution. They all had harsh words for Trump.
That’s the response from America’s friends.
In Palestine, President Mahmoud Abbas called for the United Nations to replace Washington as a Mideast mediator and suggested he would not cooperate with the Trump administration’s effort for Israeli-Palestinians. Abbas considers Trump’s actions to disqualify the United States as a participant in any further negotiations. Moreover, Abbas will not meet with Vice-President Pence’s visit to the Middle East. In other words, Trumps action has hung his son-in-law Jared Kushner’s efforts to head a peace delegation out to dry.
The Middle East peace process is in shambles.
Anticipating this response, the Jewish community remains divided with most opposed to President Trump’s action.
Where does the Middle East go from here? Critics of Israel, who claim the country is an occupier imposing their will on the Palestinian minority, are emboldened by Trump’s action. Many will see Israel as becoming further isolated.
Within Israel many citizens have already decided a two-state solution is not possible. In the West Bank, many young Palestinians agree. Their position is, “Let’s make one state and then we’ll insist on civil rights. The Jews will succumb to ethical pressure and be forced to treat as equals. There will be more Arabs than Israelis and we will win by default.” The Israeli government is certainly aware of this position.
What’s ahead? Peace? Sorry. I’m afraid not. More chaos to follow.
YOU CAN PUT THE MIDDLE-EAST INTO PERSPECTIVE WITH Robert L. Wise’s Bible Land’s: An Illustrated Guide to Scriptural Places published by Barbour Books.