by D.J. McGuire
I chose to hold my tongue at first, when word got out that Donald Trump had made it official policy to declare Jerusalem the Israeli capital and begin the process of moving our embassy there. Having now seen the actual declaration from the White House, I’m glad I waited – because everyone got played.
Numerous Arab leaders are furious; most Likud sympathizers throughout the world are ecstatic; and everyone else is wringing their hands as if some massive change has overcome the political landscape. Nearly all of Trump’s political opponents are acting as if he has done something terrible – which is wrong for a very simple reason – it actually assumes he has done something.
Yes, Trump announced that America will recognize Jerusalem as Israel’s capital. This acknowledges a state I like to call reality. The Israeli Knesset is in Jerusalem. The Prime Minister’s office is there. The head of state (President) lives there. It’s the capital. That’s a fact.
What’s up for negotiation is how much of Jerusalem will remain in Israel. The rest, whatever it is, would be part of Palestine. The Palestinians have insisted this ever since the Peace Process began over two decades ago.
You know who agrees with them on that? Donald Trump.
Yes, that Donald Trump.
Don’t believe me? Take a look at the very document that recognizes Jerusalem as Israel’s capital (here’s the link again). Here’s the sixth paragraph.
Today’s actions — recognizing Jerusalem as Israel’s capital and announcing the relocation of our embassy — do not reflect a departure from the strong commitment of the United States to facilitating a lasting peace agreement. The United States continues to take no position on any final status issues. The specific boundaries of Israeli sovereignty in Jerusalem are subject to final status negotiations between the parties. The United States is not taking a position on boundaries or borders.
But he’s moving the embassy, right? Yes, but that will take years, and the location is presently unknown. Now, assuming he is still in office by the time construction begins – and if Democrats get their act together, that’s no safe bet – he could locate the embassy in pre-1967 Arab “East” Jerusalem. That would be serious provocation.
But if he puts it in pre-1967 Israeli “West” Jerusalem? Then either everyone simmers down – or more than a few Palestinian and Arab leaders are exposed as wanting all of Jerusalem taken from the Israelis, which would beg the question: how much else do they want? Either way, Trump – if he is still in office, and if he puts the Embassy in West Jerusalem – scores a win.
Still, that’s years off. For now, all Trump has done is align the United States government with reality – and nothing more.
The rest is sound and fury.
D.J. McGuire is the conservative Democrat on More Perfect Union podcast – and sometimes feels like he is the lone conservative Democrat in the country, but Republicans keep making it easier for him.