SEVERE WX : Flash Flood Watch View Alerts
STREAMING NOW: Watch Now

Five myths about the US embassy move to Jerusalem

On Monday, the 70th anniversary of the founding of the state of Israel, the Trump administration is set to shatter de...

Posted: May 11, 2018 7:50 AM
Updated: May 11, 2018 7:50 AM

On Monday, the 70th anniversary of the founding of the state of Israel, the Trump administration is set to shatter decades of US policy toward Jerusalem by opening an embassy in the Arnona neighborhood of Jerusalem.

The event -- preceded by President Donald Trump's recognition of Jerusalem as Israel's capital -- is seen both by those who love and hate it as a major departure from traditional US diplomacy. And, as is the case with most matters concerning Jerusalem, the decision has been surrounded by all kinds of hyperbole, misconceptions and distortions about the "what nows" and the "whys."

Here are five politically inconvenient myths about Trump's decision that need to be retired -- permanently.

Myth 1: Trump's decision on Jerusalem killed the peace process.

Hardly. By the time Trump began making statements about Jerusalem and making plans to move the embassy, the peace process was barely breathing.

Meaningful negotiations between the parties had not taken place for years. The gaps between Israelis and Palestinians on all of the core issues, including borders, refugees, security and particularly Jerusalem, were Grand Canyon-like.

Indeed, by 2017, the prospects of progress between Benjamin Netanyahu and Mahmoud Abbas on a two-state solution were slim to none. What the Jerusalem issue did was make an already impossible mission more so. And, in the process, it undermined the credibility and effectiveness of the US as a mediator.

Myth 2: Trump's decision to open a Jerusalem embassy was part of a peace process strategy.

If so, it's still not apparent. Despite Trump's seeming interest in wanting to cut the ultimate deal between Israelis and Palestinians, his statements and actions on the Jerusalem issue consistently reflect personal and political motivations rather than American national interests or those of the negotiations.

Determined to separate himself from his predecessor's rocky relationship with Israel and eager to placate his base, including the important evangelical constituency cultivated by Vice President Mike Pence, Trump showered the Israelis with goodies -- such as visiting the country early in his presidential tenure and recognizing Jerusalem as the capital -- and waged a pressure campaign against Palestinians by reducing contributions for Palestinian refugees and placing restrictions on the PLO information office in Washington.

Indeed, had Trump been thinking of the negotiations, his December statement declaring Jerusalem the capital of Israel might have addressed Palestinian claims and association with the city, including the possibility of a capital in East Jerusalem.

Myth 3: Trump's Jerusalem decision doesn't change the status of the city.

It changes a great deal. Administration officials insist that US policy remains unchanged -- the status and boundaries of Jerusalem are still subject to negotiations between the parties. And it's hard to accept this argument when the plaque on the new embassy says Jerusalem, Israel.

Israel claims control and sovereignty over both east and west. The Trump administration has neither challenged this claim nor sought to criticize ambitious Israeli plans for building in Palestinian areas and taking steps to ensure it is an undivided city.

In my capacity as a Middle East negotiator, I've interacted with Netanyahu over the years, and it seems highly unlikely that the Prime Minister will cede any control of Jerusalem to the Palestinians. And reports that the Trump administration will propose transferring several neighborhoods in East Jerusalem to Palestinian control will not substantially change this perception or reality.

Myth 4: Major violence is coming.

Not necessarily in response to the embassy opening... though there is no way to predict whether or not there will be sustained violence or how severe it will be.

For the past six Fridays, Hamas, building on genuine Palestinian misery in Gaza, has orchestrated mass demonstrations along the Israel-Gaza border leading up to next week's Nakba Day -- which commemorates the catastrophe that befell Palestinians with the creation of Israel. These demonstrations have not yet spread to the West Bank or Jerusalem.

They well could. Though, when it comes to Jerusalem, it is usually local issues relating to holy sites that trigger serious violence, such as former Prime Minister Ariel Sharon's visit to Haram al-Sharif in 2000 or the placement of metal detectors there in 2017.

And the Palestinian reaction to Trump's December statement on Jerusalem was relatively restrained. So, it's not a foregone conclusion that Jerusalem will erupt in sustained violence this time around either.

Myth 5: The Trump administration has 'taken Jerusalem off the table'

Absolutely not. Various administration officials, including Trump, have used this expression -- either to suggest that in declaring Jerusalem Israel's capital or opening an embassy, the Jerusalem matter has somehow been defused or addressed in a way that will lead to positive results.

Far from taking it off the table, Jerusalem -- the most volatile issue in the negotiations -- is now front and center at a time when neither of the parties are willing or able to deal with it. If and when the Trump peace plan is put on the table, the focal point will be what it says about Jerusalem.

Bottom line: Unless the Trump plan includes language very close to the Palestinian narrative, including statehood with East Jerusalem as the Palestinian capital, it's hard to see the Jerusalem issue as anything but a continuing source of political impasse in negotiations.

And that ensures virtually no deal and the likelihood of violence over Jerusalem in the future.

Huntsville
Overcast
66° wxIcon
Hi: 66° Lo: 64°
Feels Like: 66°
Florence
Overcast
69° wxIcon
Hi: 68° Lo: 65°
Feels Like: 69°
Fayetteville
Scattered Clouds
64° wxIcon
Hi: 66° Lo: 64°
Feels Like: 64°
Decatur
Overcast
66° wxIcon
Hi: 66° Lo: 64°
Feels Like: 66°
Scottsboro
Overcast
64° wxIcon
Hi: 65° Lo: 64°
Feels Like: 64°
WAAY Radar
WAAY WAAY-TV Cam
WAAY Temperatures

Alabama Coronavirus Cases

Confirmed Cases: 133433

Reported Deaths: 2349
CountyConfirmedDeaths
Jefferson19306349
Mobile13233291
Montgomery8748177
Madison770978
Tuscaloosa7418116
Lee579261
Shelby578750
Baldwin514149
Marshall389244
Etowah340247
Calhoun340140
Morgan323926
Houston276423
Elmore259647
DeKalb237519
St. Clair226337
Walker225383
Talladega210628
Limestone203319
Cullman186818
Dallas175926
Franklin175229
Russell17322
Autauga171525
Lauderdale167333
Colbert162926
Blount158015
Escambia157725
Jackson154011
Chilton152431
Dale134644
Covington133427
Coffee12988
Pike11799
Chambers114442
Tallapoosa113885
Clarke107017
Marion95429
Butler91139
Barbour8517
Winston71812
Marengo70519
Lowndes65227
Pickens64514
Bibb63810
Randolph62713
Hale61928
Lawrence60522
Bullock59714
Geneva5864
Cherokee58315
Monroe5808
Clay5547
Washington55113
Perry5396
Conecuh53011
Wilcox53011
Crenshaw52732
Henry4835
Macon47920
Fayette4358
Sumter43219
Lamar3572
Choctaw34412
Cleburne3356
Greene30315
Coosa1673
Out of AL00
Unassigned00

Tennessee Coronavirus Cases

Confirmed Cases: 186798

Reported Deaths: 2277
CountyConfirmedDeaths
Shelby30397449
Davidson26194297
Hamilton926392
Knox911575
Rutherford911388
Williamson513936
Sumner475093
Wilson341243
Putnam317038
Montgomery301543
Out of TN296825
Unassigned29046
Bradley288317
Madison278060
Sevier255315
Blount246123
Maury228923
Washington223234
Robertson218835
Sullivan209332
Hamblen187325
Tipton176617
Trousdale16517
Gibson158620
Hardeman154625
Wayne14896
Bedford131717
Dyer131413
Dickson123014
Cumberland116918
Fayette116718
Coffee115612
Anderson115311
Henderson115121
Weakley114519
Carter114128
Loudon11316
Greene111839
Obion11129
McMinn109424
Jefferson108514
Macon103320
Warren10197
Monroe101017
Lawrence100311
Hardin99115
Lauderdale94915
Franklin9458
Haywood93316
Lake9192
Roane8643
Carroll84918
Bledsoe8484
McNairy82418
White8069
Cheatham80510
Rhea79111
Hawkins78016
Cocke7379
Marshall7335
Overton7085
Smith69710
Johnson6622
Henry6129
Chester60510
Lincoln5961
Giles57617
Hickman5535
DeKalb55013
Crockett52919
Marion5167
Decatur4956
Fentress4623
Claiborne4384
Campbell4243
Polk38010
Grainger3603
Union3451
Benton3349
Jackson3145
Morgan3103
Cannon2810
Unicoi2811
Grundy2635
Humphreys2433
Sequatchie2262
Meigs2213
Clay2155
Scott2082
Houston1981
Stewart1822
Lewis1791
Moore1611
Van Buren1590
Perry1490
Hancock1073
Pickett1072

Community Events