Devin Sper

Trump changes the Dynamic of Middle East Diplomacy

The real significance of President Trump’s declaration on Jerusalem is hinted at near the beginning of his statement where, paraphrasing Einstein he said: “It would be folly to assume that repeating the exact same formula would now produce a different or better result.” 

 For decades, the conventional wisdom of Middle East diplomacy has been that the Palestinian issue is the key to peace in the Middle East.  The fallacy of this endlessly repeated mantra is why half a century of diplomacy has achieved nothing.  The Palestinian issue was never the root cause of all Middle East war and instability and today the inherently violent, intolerant and fanatical nature of Muslim Arab society is on display for all the world to see.  9/11, ISIS, the current civil wars in Iraq, Yemen, Libya, Afghanistan and Syria obviously have nothing to do with the Palestinian issue.  Neither did Saddam’s conquest of Kuwait and the resulting Gulf War, Iran’s aggression against other states in the region or Jihadist terror around the world.

Trump’s recognition of Jerusalem as the Capital of Israel makes clear that U.S.- Israeli relations will no longer be held hostage to the Palestinian issue and that the United States values Israel on its own merits.  While the President stated that he would like to see peace between Israel and the Palestinians, his primary goal is now Israel’s welfare and her continued good relations with the United States and not a fictitious peace process, for its own sake.

Many in the press argue that Trump has abandoned the diplomatic position of the United States as a neutral observer between Israeli and Palestinians.  Indeed, he has and why shouldn’t he?  Israel is America’s long-standing ally and the one reliable, stable, democratic country in the region.  The Israeli people are unabashedly pro-American.  The Palestinian Authority on the other hand is composed of the formally Soviet aligned PLO and the Hamas terror organization.

Israel’s enemies deny Israel’s capital because they deny Israel’s existence.  They not only deny that Jerusalem is Israel’s capital but they deny that a Jewish Temple ever stood on the Temple Mount, or any historical Jewish connection to Jerusalem, just as they deny 3,000 years of Jewish history in the land of Israel.  They call the State of Israel, “The Zionist entity” in their media, erase it from their maps, and refuse to acknowledge its representatives in public.  The negative reaction by the Palestinians and their sycophants to U.S. recognition of the reality of Jerusalem as Israel’s capital makes clear that their true goals are not, (and never have been), peace, but denial with their ultimate goal annihilation of the Jewish State unchanged since 1948.

If there ever is to be a real Israeli – Palestinian peace agreement (not the same as peace in the Middle East) President Trump’s recognition of Jerusalem as the capital of Israel is the essential first step, Palestinian temper tantrums notwithstanding.  For over half a century the Palestinians have taken a maximalist position.  Catering to their fantasies of eliminating Israel has achieved nothing.  What is the point of discussing modalities such as borders where one side does not accept the existence of the other?

Trump’s statement informs the Palestinians that at least from here on out, they will pay a price for continued intransigence, denial of reality and refusal to compromise.  They have now lost Jerusalem and it seems clear that if they continue down this road President Trump might just as easily abandon the fiction of Palestine altogether.

Hamas and other Jihadists threatened violence, as if they have not been engaged in violence until now.  The leaders of Turkey and Iran predict conflict and chaos in the Middle East, as if this is not already the case and they among its prime instigators.  Diplomats throughout the world, along with those of our own State Department, lobbied heavily against Trump’s recognition of reality, as if half a century of diplomacy based on their false premises have not utterly failed in bringing peace.

The President has now set himself, and our country, apart from these anti-Semitic liars.  For his courageous defiance of their cynical advice, Trump has my gratitude and respect, and he should have the gratitude and respect of everyone who loves Israel.  Trump stood firm against the cynical advice and pressure of Israel’s numerous enemies as no President before him.  Standing behind him as he signed the document, Vice President Pence’s normally stoic face betrayed emotion that said it all.

Moral leadership is about standing for what is right, even and especially when it is unpopular, defies conventional wisdom and the cries of the mob.  In the words of Hillel “In a place where there are no men, strive to be a man.”  Donald Trump has today proven himself to be such a man.

Devin Sper

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About the Author
Devin Sper was born and raised in New York and lived in Israel for 10 years. He holds a degree in Jewish History from the Hebrew University of Jerusalem and served in the Israel Defense Forces. Devin Sper is the author of The Future of Israel, winner of a 2005 GLYPH award.
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