The world media is full of coverage of today’sannouncement by President Donald Trump that the U.S. will recognize Jerusalem as Israel’s capital. We’re hearing from governments throughout the world about their disquiet at the prospect of a conquered city becoming a national capital, in violation of international law and two generations of diplomatic precedent.
But there is something we’re not hearing: a commitment by these governments to take concrete action against this outrageous breach by the U.S. We’re not even hearing of any anticipated actions against Israel itself, except a vague threat by Turkey’s Pres. Erdogan to cut diplomatic ties with Israel.
We’ve heard from France and even Saudi Arabia, which has conducted a covert scorched earth campaign to force Mahmoud Abbas to accept the Trump peace plan. The Saudi foreign minister has dutifully returned to old talking points, in which his country expresses solidarity for the “suffering of its Palestinian brothers” (no “sisters,” this is Saudi Arabia, after all).
Germany’s foreign minister took the unprecedented step of warning Trump and Netanyahu of “the limits of his country’s solidarity” if they choose to take a dive off the deep end. Germany–ever cognizant of its role as birthplace of Nazism, which destroyed European Jewry and caused the deaths of tens of millions during World War II–almost never says that there is a limit to how far they will go in supporting Israel or the U.S. So these words are powerful and striking. But ultimately, what do they mean? If Trump were any normal president, he would realize that these are ominous words from Germany. But Trump isn’t an ordinary president. He’s a leader who is megalomaniacal and pathological. He is a narcissist oblivious to anything and anyone but himself. To oppose such sociopathology requires not just strong language, but strong action.
How about all these nations putting their money where their mouths are; recalling their ambassadors from both Tel Aviv and Washington, if they really believe what they’re saying? If Trump wants to break ranks with the EU and the rest of the civilized world and essentially abandon prospects for a negotiated resolution of the Israel-Palestine conflict, he must pay a price. Like all bullies, if there is no price he will continue with his brutal ways and do far worse in future. If you tell him “No” in no uncertain terms, it will stop him dead in his tracks.
Will the world stand up for its convictions? I wouldn’t bet on it. But if Muslims in their tens of thousands heed Hamas’ call for the Friday worship becoming a Day of Rage, and the protest spreads beyond Jerusalem throughout the Muslim world, then there could be such a groundswell. The Saudis–who only a few days ago seemed prepared to abandon Palestine in order to focus their sights more fully on the Iranian enemy–might realize that following Trump into the maw of Hell may not be the best approach, if they wish to remain Protectors of the (Muslim) Faith.
That is the only way to make Trump and his allies in this ghastly affair back down.
An Israeli security source I consulted told me that he expected Palestinian protests throughout this week. But that due to the cold winter weather, he didn’t expect the level of intensity of the July al Aqsa protests against the installation of security cameras outside Islam’s third most holy site. He may be mistaken.
This article was published by Tikum Olam