A very short month ago, President Trump recognized reality by acknowledging that Jerusalem was capital of Israel. While his announcement officially said this didn’t affect negotiations on the final status of Jerusalem, in fact, it did. Israel has annexed East Jerusalem, which the terrorist state of Palestine claims as its own. The odds of Israel giving up its claim to all of Jerusalem once we have recognized it as Israel’s capital approach zero.
The Palestinians, as they are prone to do, threaten “days of rage.” It is here that the story gets interesting. Most Palestinians didn’t really care and the Arab world shrugged. That shrug on the part of nations who would have gone batsh** crazy just five years ago is not just a passing fad. Egypt is pretty much over the Jerusalem rage phase:
As President Trump moved last month to recognize Jerusalem as the capital of Israel, an Egyptian intelligence officer quietly placed phone calls to the hosts of several influential talk shows in Egypt.
“Like all our Arab brothers,” Egypt would denounce the decision in public, the officer, Capt. Ashraf al-Kholi, told the hosts.
But strife with Israel was not in Egypt’s national interest, Captain Kholi said. He told the hosts that instead of condemning the decision, they should persuade their viewers to accept it. Palestinians, he suggested, should content themselves with the dreary West Bank town that currently houses the Palestinian Authority, Ramallah.
“How is Jerusalem different from Ramallah, really?” Captain Kholi asked repeatedly in four audio recordings of his telephone calls obtained by The New York Times.
“Exactly that,” agreed one host, Azmi Megahed, who confirmed the authenticity of the recording.
Whoa. I don’t know if “How is Jerusalem different from Ramallah, really?” will become as notorious as “What difference at this point does it make?” but it is certainly significant.
The Saudi’s are also on board with moving the capital of a Palestinian state to somewhere other than Israel:
The Saudis are proposing that the Jerusalem suburb of Abu Dis become the capital of a future Palestinian state. The Egyptians are wondering aloud what the difference is between Jerusalem and Ramallah. Interesting times. https://t.co/76kToCaswm
— Avi Mayer (@AviMayer) January 6, 2018
Why this sea change:
For decades, powerful Arab states like Egypt and Saudi Arabia have publicly criticized Israel’s treatment of the Palestinians, while privately acquiescing to Israel’s continued occupation of territory the Palestinians claim as their homeland.
But now a de facto alliance against shared foes such as Iran, the Muslim Brotherhood, Islamic State militants and the Arab Spring uprisings is drawing the Arab leaders into an ever-closer collaboration with their one-time nemesis, Israel — producing especially stark juxtapositions between their posturing in public and private.
Mr. Trump’s decision broke with a central premise of 50 years of American-sponsored peace talks, defied decades of Arab demands that East Jerusalem be the capital of a Palestinian state, and stoked fears of a violent backlash across the Middle East.
Shibley Telhami, a scholar of the region at the University of Maryland and the Brookings Institution, called the Arab states’ acceptance of the decision “transformational.”
“I don’t think it would have happened a decade ago, because Arab leaders would have made clear they wouldn’t live with it,” he said. Instead, he said, preoccupied by concerns about their own stability, the Arab leaders signaled that — while they may not like the decision — they “will find a way to work with it,” and “with a White House that is prepared to break with what had been taboos in American foreign policy.”
For nearly 40 years, the United States has been pursuing the EXACT same policy in regards to Israel and the Palestinians. Administrations may tinker around the edges but the broad outlines were unchanged. The closest we came to a significant departure from the past was the last Obama term when an anti-Israel sentiment that bordered on rank Antisemitism resulted in our abandonment of Israel in nearly every regard. And no progress was made. Why? As someone once said, “Insanity is doing the same thing over and over again, but expecting different results.” And that is what we were engaged in.
These so-called taboos are actually being shown to be impediments to progress. The Arab nations have used the spectre of Jew-hatred so long that they’ve scared themselves into believing that their people actually care about the Palestinians unless they are told to care about them by state media. In the example about Egypt, the “Arab street” didn’t bat an eye at Trump’s announcement because they are as tired of the Palestinians as we are.
There may very well be a new day coming in the Middle East. And it took a mentally unstable idiot to do what the preceding geniuses and savants failed to do to put it into motion.