Trump has decided to uphold the law passed by Congress in 1995, which stated that Jerusalem “should be recognized as the capital of the state of Israel” and the US embassy be moved there, by no later than May 31, 1999. Bill Clinton, George W. Bush, and Barack Obama invoked waivers to this law every six months, postponing the move on grounds of “national security”, which means the law has never taken effect. Trump also signed a waiver in June 2017, but has now decided to end the stalling. Predictably, everyone and their mother is going ape shit. Perhaps a bit foolishly.
I am no big friend of Israel. The state should not have been created in the first place. The Jewish people deserve a homeland, but what the Allies should have done was carve out a section of Germany (the nation responsible for the Holocaust), instead of uprooting Arabs for sake of a religiously inspired “Promised Land”. Many Jews hadn’t lived in Palestine for two millennia, and they didn’t have a rightful claim on it after all this time. But for better or worse, the Jewish state does exist now in Israel (since 1948), has controlled the entire city of Jerusalem (since 1967), and they have the right to decide their own capital (which they did in 1980). The spoils of war go to the victors. That’s been the way of the world forever.
Trump is saying that it’s foolish to think that repeating failed solutions will suddenly bring peaceful results in the Middle-East, and he’s obviously right. To object, as Turkey’s president does, that affirming the Congressional law of 1995 “will only play into the hands of terror groups,” is just kowtowing to thuggery. Hamas has threatened to launch a new intifada, and no surprise there. Trump shouldn’t be criticized for standing up to jihadist intimidation.
So while I’m not a particular fan of Israel and I loathe Trump, I can’t say I object to the executive decision. Every other country has their capital of choice recognized, and Trump is simply eliminating two decades of repeated executive overreach. More than enough time has elapsed since 1995 to show how silly the every-six-month waiver policy is, and that jihadists will never be satisfied or agree to work towards a peaceful goal as long as the state of Israel exists at all.