How would the Russians, not to mention the Palestinians, respond to a symbolically enormous US embassy move from Tel Aviv to Jerusalem? AFP/Getty
Amid three catastrophic Middle East wars, it would be difficult to imagine anything more provocative, dangerous – or just plain insane – than for the Americans to move their embassy from Tel Aviv to Jerusalem. Yet that is just what Donald Trump is this week thinking of doing. In a way, we should have expected this: mad presidents do mad things.
But is there no one in the White House able to restrain him? Not even Jared Kushner, who is supposed to be Trump’s Middle East hand? Or is Kushner too bound up in his latest scandal – just revealed by Newsweek, that he failed to disclose his co-directorship of a foundation funding illegal Jewish colonies in the West Bank when he filed financial records with the Office of Government Ethics this year – to speak out?
For it’s not that the embassy itself is just a symbolic move. It means that the United States would acknowledge that the city of Jerusalem, sacred to Muslims, Jews and Christians, is the capital of the Israeli state, and that the Palestinians can never share it. The slovenly “peace process” – abandoned by the Israelis, then by the Palestinians and then by the Americans years ago, although “statesmen” still talk about it in the dream world in which they live – would no longer exist even in our imaginations.