BONOKOSKI: By choosing Jerusalem, Trump throws a new wrench into peace

U.S. President Bill Clinton talked a good game about moving the American Embassy from Tel Aviv to Jerusalem — then balked.

George W. Bush made the same promise, and ultimately backed away.

What seemed like a good idea at the time suddenly took on a different tenor when it was fully realized that the issue was a time bomb with a very short fuse, and that peace in the Middle East was more unattainable than it was ever feasible.

It has forever been thus.





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Back in 1979, newly-elected Canadian prime minister Joe Clark, his term in office no longer than a hiccup, backed down from a campaign promise to move Canada’s embassy from Tel Aviv to Jerusalem, scared off by prophecies of violence and international upheaval.

Donald Trump, though, is obviously no Clinton, no Bush, and certainly no Joe Clark. He made a campaign promise and he was going to keep it.

A picture taken on December 6, 2017 shows Palestinians sitting in a cafe watching an address given by US President Donald Trump in Jerusalem. AHMAD GHARABLI/AFP/Getty Images

And bedamned to world leaders who oppose his decision.

To Donald Trump, who wears his support of Israel on his sleeve even more publicly than his Jewish son-in-law Jared Kushner, there is only one capital for Israel, and it is Jerusalem.

And, with Jerusalem as its capital, it validates Israel as a country of its own, and puts to an end any and all turning back.

This is Trump’s reasoning, and therefore his stance.

Palestinian protestors burn an effigy of US President Donald Trump following his decision to recognize Jerusalem as the capital of Israel, in the West Bank city of Nablus, on December 7, 2017. JAAFAR ASHTIYEH/AFP/Getty Images

No city on the planet is more politically charged and sensitive than Jerusalem, of course. Both the Israelis and the Palestinians look upon it as their capital, just as the old city of east Jerusalem stands as a home to ancient religious sites that are held sacred by Jews, Christians and Muslims alike.

The city defines complicated.

Decades of talks brokered by various American presidencies have failed to bring the Palestinians any closer to a home they see in the West Bank, Gaza, and east Jerusalem, lands the Israelis captured in the 1967 Mideast War.

Palestinian Hamas militants take part in a rally in Beit Hanun in the northern Gaza Strip, on December 7, 2017, against US President Donald Trump’s recognition of Jerusalem as Israel’s capital. MOHAMMED ABED/AFP/Getty Images

In the meantime, Israel has systematically continued to expand Jewish settlements within those war-won territories, all while maintaining it is nevertheless willing to negotiate a lasting peace.

Again, it’s complicated.

With Trump’s recognition of Jerusalem as Israel’s capital, Palestinian President Mahmoud Abbas was not wrong Thursday when he said the United States had effectively disqualified itself as a peace broker or mediator.

The Israeli flag flutters in front of the Dome of the Rock mosque and th city of Jerusalem, on December 1, 2017. THOMAS COEX/AFP/Getty Images

For a number of decades, the United States was the only country willing and able to bring both sides to the table, albeit without success.

If not the U.S., then who?

Turkish President Recap Tayyip Erdogan, who next week will host a summit of 57 Arab and Muslim states, accused Trump of tossing the Middle East into a “ring of fire,” and questioned what Trump hoped to achieve.

Turkey’s President Recep Tayyip Erdogan waves as he arrives to deliver a speech in Ankara, Turkey, Tuesday, Dec. 5, 2017. Erdogan says U.S. recognition of Jerusalem as Israel’s capital is a ‘red line’ for Muslims. (Yasin Bulbul/Pool via AP)

“It’s not possible to understand what (he is) trying to get out of it,” said Erdogan. “Political leaders exist not to stir things up, but to make peace.

“If Trump says, ‘I am strong, (and) therefore I am right,’ he is mistaken.”

Over in China, our travelling prime minister, Justin Trudeau, was careful not to say anything that would infuriate Trump, and steered very clear of incendiary rhetoric before he got on a plane to return home.





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“We will not be moving Canada’s embassy to Jerusalem,” he said. “Canada has a long-standing policy on the Mideast.

“We need to work towards a two-state solution through direct negotiations.”

The question now, however, is this.

Now that Trump has picked his side, who is going to conduct those “direct negotiations” since no other country but the United States has ever seriously tried to lead the way.

Peace in the Middle East?

It remains what it is — a pipe dream.

Source:: Toronto Sun – Movies