Trump’s Solution to the Israeli-Palestinian Conflict: Make It Way, Way Worse 

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Welcome to another episode of “Donald, Jared, and Donald’s
Company Lawyer Bring Peace to the Middle East With No Trouble
Whatsoever.” Today, Trump formally recognized Jerusalem as the
capital of Israel and announced plans to move the U.S. embassy
there from Tel Aviv, fulfilling a campaign pledge at the cost
of regional stability, Palestinian interests, and the
longstanding (if dubious) American position as a “neutral
broker” in the Israeli-Palestinian conflict.

Flanked by two portly Christmas trees, with Vice President
Pence peeking over his shoulder like a very determined
evangelical elf, Trump delivered a speech announcing “a long
overdue step to advance the peace process,” which is an
interesting way to frame a move that infuriated just about
every other country and sparked
massive protests
across Palestinian territory. When built,
Trump declared, the U.S. embassy in Jerusalem “will be a
magnificent tribute to peace.” Which is half-correct! It will
definitely be a tribute to something. But probably not
peace.

Everyone from Boris Johnson to Pope Francis has condemned the
move, while Swedish Foreign Minister Margot Wallström went
ahead and
called
it “catastrophic.” Saudi Arabia, a U.S. ally,

called
the decision “a flagrant provocation to Muslims.”
But as we know, there’s nothing Trump loves more than a

reckless, hotly anticipated policy announcement
that
isolates the United States from the rest of the world. It’s
worth noting, too, that Senate Minority Leader Chuck Schumer
directly
encouraged
this move, in spite of its implications.
Democrats are
divided
on the issue, although the Senate
voted unanimously
in favor of a resolution that included
language encouraging the president to move the embassy.

Trump’s unusually decipherable speech noted that in 1995,
Congress
passed a bill
formally recognizing Jerusalem as the capital
of Israel and proclaiming that the U.S. embassy would be moved
there. (Israel already considers all of Jerusalem to be its
capital.) It automatically became law after Clinton declined to
sign it, and he used the legislation’s waiver authority to
postpone the embassy move for national security reasons. It’s
been invoked every six months since. Jerusalem is holy
territory for both Israelis and Palestinians; most of the
international community considers East Jerusalem occupied
territory, and Palestinians see East Jerusalem as the capital
of a future Palestinian state.

But Trump is ready to shake things up—with help from an
all-star team that includes his dunce of a son-in-law, his

lawyer
, and his
other lawyer
, who has a penchant for conspiracy theories
about Huma Abedin. None are qualified for this deeply difficult
job, unless you count Jared’s undisclosed foundation
funding illegal Israeli settlements
in Palestinian
territory.

“When I came into office I promised to look at the world’s
challenges with open eyes and very fresh thinking,” Trump said
in his speech. “We cannot solve our problems by making the same
failed assumptions and repeating the same failed strategies of
the past.”

This, Trump says, constitutes “a new approach” to the
Israeli-Palestinian conflict, because everyone knows that’s how
to fix an extremely complex and long-running problem: do the
exact opposite of what you were doing, even if it is very
obviously stupid. He did not elaborate that this “new approach”
caters precisely to the wishes of the far-right Israeli
government, which has discarded nearly all pretense of interest
in a two-state solution.

The speech came armored with a number of caveats like “this
decision is not intended in any way to reflect a departure from
our strong commitment to a lasting peace agreement” and that
the U.S. wants a “great deal” for both sides. But it’s sort of
tough to say those things convincingly in the middle of an
announcement that will preclude those things from happening.

Trump, who has lately taken to calling a hostile dictator fat
on Twitter, left us by imploring “all civilized nations and
people to respond to disagreement with reasoned debate, not
violence.”

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