Pr?sid?nt Donald Trump’s d?cision on W?dn?sday to
officially r?cogniz? th? unit?d J?rusal?m as Isra?l’s capital shows how d?lusional
his administration is with traditional pi?ti?s about th? Middl? ?ast. It’s
about tim? things chang?. On? pi?ty is that “Middl? ?ast p?ac?” is all but
synonymous with Arab-Isra?li p?ac?. Th? last s?v?n y?ars of mayh?m, t?rrorism,
r?fug?? cris?s and mass murd?r in Libya, ?gypt, Y?m?n, Iraq, and Syria hav? put
paid to that notion. Anoth?r pi?ty is that only an Isra?li-Pal?stinian p?ac? d?al
could r?concil? th? wid?r Arab world to th? J?wish stat?. If only th?r? w?r? p?ac?
b?tw??n Isra?l and th? Pal?stinian Authority, only th?n Isra?l would hav? p?ac?ful
r?lation with its Arab n?ighbors. Y?t r?lations b?tw??n J?rusal?m and Riyadh,
Abu Dhabi, Cairo, and Manama ar?thriving as n?v?r b?for?, ?v?n as th? prosp?ct
of a Pal?stinian stat? is as r?mot? as ?v?r. A third is that a thorough m?diation
by th? Unit?d Stat?s is ?ss?ntial to advanc? th? prosp?ct for p?ac?. Y?t r?c?nt
Am?rican involv?m?nts — wh?th?r at th? Camp David summit in 2000 orJohn K?rry’s
initiativ?s in 2013 — hav? had mostly th? opposit? ?ff?ct: diplomatic failur?,
follow?d by intifada (uprising) and war. Which brings us to J?rusal?m and th? pi?ty
that pr?t?nding it isn’t what it is can b? a formula for anything ?xc?pt
continuous s?lf-d?lusion. What J?rusal?m is is th? capital of Isra?l, both as
th? anc?stral J?wish hom?land and th? mod?rn nation-stat?. Th? Isra?li parliam?nt
a.k.a th? Kn?ss?t sits in J?rusal?m. Th? Isra?li Supr?m? court, th? stat? bank,
and r?sid?nc? and offic?s of both th? PM and th? pr?sid?nt ar? in J?rusal?m. Wh?n
Richard Nixon b?cam? th? first Am?rican pr?sid?nt to visit th? country in 1974,
h? att?nd?d his stat? dinn?r in J?rusal?m.It’s wh?r? ?gyptian Pr?sid?nt Anwar
Sadat spok? wh?n h? d?cid?d to mak? p?ac? in 1977. It’s what Congr?ss d?cid?d
as a matt?r of law in 1995. All th? pr?sid?nts sinc? th?n, Bill Clinton, G?org?
W. Bush, and Barrack Obama hav? ?xplicitly stat?d that only and only th?
undivid?d J?rusal?m is th? capital of Isra?l. Wh?n Barrack Obama paid his own
pr?sid?ntial visit to Isra?l in 2013, h? too sp?nt most of his tim? inJ?rusal?m.
So why maintain th? fiction that J?rusal?m isn’t th? capital? Th? original argum?nt,
from 1947, was that J?rusal?m should b? und?r int?rnational jurisdiction, in r?cognition
of its r?ligious importanc?. Many s??m to forg?t that, at that tim? Isra?l did
acc?pt this plan to hav? an int?rnationaliz?d J?rusal?m, whil? th? Arabs r?j?ct?d
it. Isra?l only took control of th? W?st J?rusal?m aft?r th?ir ind?p?nd?nc? war
against fiv? Arab countri?s. It was th? J?ws who w?r? forbidd?n to visit th? W?st?rn
Wall during th? following 19 y?ars wh?n ?ast J?rusal?m was und?r compl?t?
Jordanian occupation. Yasir Arafat ?v?n d?ni?d th? historical fact that King
Solomon’s T?mpl? was ?v?n in J?rusal?m, r?fl?cting an incr?asingly common Pal?stinian
d?nial of history. As of now, would J?ws b? allow?d to visit J?wish sit?s, and
would thos? sit?s b? r?sp?ct?d, if th? city w?r? r?-divid?d? Doubtful, consid?ring
Pal?stinian attacks on such sit?s, which is on? of th? r?asons why it shouldn’t
b?. Th? n?xt argum?nt is that any att?mpt by Washington to r?cogniz? J?rusal?m
as Isra?l’s capital would s?t th? Arab str??ts on fir? and p?rhaps l?ad to
anoth?r bloody intifada. But this misappr?h?nds th? natur? of th? str??t, which
has usually b??n a propaganda tool of Arab l?ad?rs to chann?l dom?stic discont?nt
and manipulat? for?ign opinion. And it also misr?pr?s?nts th? natur? of th?
last intifada, which was a m?ticulously pr?plann?d ?v?nt waiting for an
opportun? pr?t?xt (Ari?l Sharon’s S?pt?mb?r 2000 walk on th? T?mpl? Mount) to
look lik? a spontan?ous on?. Finally, many p?opl? ar? holding th? vi?w that
this r?cognition by Donald Trump is lik? giving a coll?g? fr?shman a graduation
gift, that this is a pr?matur? r?ward and giv?away for an Isra?li gov?rnm?nt
that hasn’t y?t don? what’s r?quir?d to mak? a Pal?stinian stat? possibl?. In
som? cont?xt it kind of is. But this also g?ts a f?w things incorr?ct. In r?ality,
it will hav? lit?rally z?ro ?ff?ct on th? cr?ation of a possibl? Pal?stinian
stat?. And it’s not much of a bargaining chip, sinc? most ordinary Isra?lis
couldn’t car? l?ss wh?r? th? US ?mbassy is ultimat?ly locat?d. Th?n again, r?cognition
do?s s?v?ral g?nuin?ly us?ful things. It b?lat?dly aligns Am?rican words with d??ds.
It aligns word as w?ll as th? d??d with r?ality. And it aligns th? Unit?d Stat?s
with th? country toward which w? ar? constantly prof?ssing fri?ndship ?v?n as w?
hav? sp?nt s?v?n d?cad?s d?priving it of th? most basic form of r?cognition. R?cognition
also t?lls th? Pal?stinians that th?y can no long?r hold oth?r parti?s hostag?
to th?ir d?mands. ?ast J?rusal?m could hav? b??n th? capital of a sov?r?ign Pal?stinian
stat? 17 y?ars ago, if Yasir Arafat had simply acc?pt?d th? ?xtr?m?ly g?n?rous
t?rms off?r?d by th?n Isra?li Prim? Minist?r ?hud Barrack at Camp David wh?n h?
off?r?d th? ?ntir? Gaza strip and mor? than 96% of th? W?st Bank to th? Pal?stinians.
H? didn’t b?caus? h? thought h? could dictat? t?rms to strong?r pow?rs. Nations
pay a pric? for th? foolhardin?ss of th?ir l?ad?rs, as th? Kurds lat?ly found
out. P?ac? and a Pal?stinian stat? will com? into ?xist?nc? wh?n Pal?stinians
and th? Arab world officially r?cogniz? th? J?wish p?opl? as an indig?nous
group to this land just as th?y th?ms?lv?s ar?. Th? Pal?stinian stat? will
flourish if th?y aspir? to cr?at? a pacifist, progr?ssiv?, coop?rativ? and d?mocratic
stat?— rath?r than building an Islamic caliphat? und?r Sharia law: by turns
autocratic, anarchic, fanatical and tragic. For th? int?rnational community,
that m?ans h?lping Pal?stinians tak? st?ps to tak? apart th?ir curr?nt ps?udo-th?ocracy
und?r Hamas, rath?r than fu?ling a cultur? of ?v?rlasting gri?vanc? against
Isra?l. Mahmoud Abbas is now approaching th? 13th anniv?rsary of his ?l?ct?d
four-y?ar t?rm. Isra?l has gon? through thr?? d?mocratic ?l?ctions within that
tim?. Som?on? should point this out. Hamas has run Gaza for a d?cad?, during
which it has sp?nt mor? tim? building rock?ts and t?rror tunn?ls than schools
or hospitals. Som?on? should point this out, too. It is indicativ? of th? t?rribl?
political choic?s that h?lp ?xplain 70 y?ars of Pal?stinian failur?. M?antim?,
J?rusal?m is th? capital of Isra?l. For thos? who hav? liv?d in d?nial, it must
b? som? sort of shock.
Pr?sid?nt Donald Trump’s d?cision on W?dn?sday to