Nov 07,2017 – JORDAN TIMES – RAMZY BAROUD
The postponing of an Israeli Knesset bill that would have annexed major illegal Jewish settlements in the West Bank to the Jerusalem municipality is the result of behind-the-scenes US and, possibly, European pressure. But the story of the so-called Greater Jerusalem law does not end here.
Israel wants to maintain an absolute demographic Jewish majority in Jerusalem, including in occupied and illegally annexed Palestinian East Jerusalem.
There is enough support in the Knesset and among the public to ensure that coveted Jewish dominance. But the political balances, and possible drawbacks, are just too delicate and great for Israel to get exactly what it wants, even if there is a clear consensus among Israeli Jewish politicians and the public about permanently changing the status of the city.
One of the factors that the Israeli government is considering is the support of the Donald Trump administration.
How far will Trump go to support Israeli transgressions while continuing to advocate an “ultimate deal” — his own version of finding a political resolution to the conflict resulting from Israel’s illegal occupation of Palestine?
True, the Trump administration has done its utmost to reassure Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu of its undying loyalty. Trump’s last visit to Israel was a major step in that direction, and during it, US commitment to Israel’s security and future was made abundantly and repeatedly clear.
Moreover, the joint US-Israel push against the UN and its smaller institutions — like UNESCO and UNHCR — led by the US ambassador to the UN, Nikki Haley, aims to torpedo future international initiatives that are critical of Israel’s military occupation of Palestine.
On the other hand, using back channels, and without much fanfare, Trump has been promoting his own plan for “regional peace”, which are still unclear.
While Israel is routinely allowed to slowly alter the landscape of occupied Palestinian areas, construct walls and expand its illegal settlements, an explicit, major plan to annex large regions of the West Bank would have ignited the kind of backlash that could likely bring an end to Trump’s Middle East politicking and complicate his relations with various Arab governments.
The “Greater Jerusalem law” would have done just that.