trump recognizes Jerusalem as Israel's capital
Donald Trump is a man who keeps his promises and "delivers"! Impervious to warnings and criticisms, the U.S. president remains determined to chart his own course, regardless of the consequences. In a spectacular, albeit anticipated move, he announced yesterday that the U.S. recognizes Jerusalem as Israel's capital. Within hours, Trump's 2020 re-election committee praised "a new promise kept". As usual, the timing of the announcement could not have come at a better time. According to a recent Gallup poll, Trump's popularity has reached his lowest level since the election. It is more than likely that Trump's unilateral move will be the highlight of the campaign-style meeting scheduled for Friday in Florida. No doubt Trump will once again tout his own accomplishments, whatever they may be. After all, did he not declare recently "there has never been a 10-month president who has accomplished" as much?
To be fair, Trump was not the first presidential candidate to promise the transfer of the U.S. embassy from Tel-Aviv to Jerusalem. Since Bill Clinton, it has in fact become somewhat of a tradition. Democrats were the first to push for such a move, following the Six-Day War of 1967. The idea gained momentum among Republicans and, in 1995, Congress passed the Jerusalem Embassy Act. Only, once elected, the new president would quickly forget about his promise and chose the status quo: Jerusalem's status cannot be settled unless a global agreement is reached between Israelis and Palestinians. That position explains why the presidents of the U.S., from Bill Clinton to Barack Obama, duly postponed the Jerusalem Embassy Act's enforcement every six months in the name of "national interest".
By breaking with this tradition,
Trump has gone further than any of his predecessors, that is true. But his motives appear to be political. His latest move will likely energize his base and particularly the Christian evangelicals who have long identified with Israel, another promised land, a gift from God to the Jewish people. Trump is an opportunist narcissist who thrives on his own perceived accomplishments. So yes, he has delivered on a campaign promise. The question is: has he seriously considered the implications of his announcement? Has it proposed a credible plan to end the Israeli-Palestinian conflict? The answer to those questions is, I am afraid, NO!