In a highly controversial and unnecessary move, Donald Trump recognized Jerusalem as Israel's capital, which has been a hotbed of controversy for decades. Incredibly, he also said it would actually help the peace process.
Trump said, "I have determined that it is time to officially recognize Jerusalem as the capital of Israel."
Trump's speech consisted of many conciliatory words, but that can't cover the slap in the face he gave to the entire peace process and the region.
(As an aside, Trump slurred his last few words as if he had a watermelon Jolly Rancher in his mouth. What was up with that? Was he drugged?)
After announcing his support for Israel on this issue as well as initiating to move the US embassy from Tel Aviv to the holy city, he called for calm in response to his announcement and a "status quo," saying his greatest hope was for peace.
Actions speak much louder than words.
"It would be folly to assume that repeating the exact same formula would now produce a different or better result,” he said, calling his announcement “a long-overdue step to advance the peace process and work towards a lasting agreement.”
Trump said the U.S. is simply acknowledging “the obvious” that Jerusalem is the seat of Israel’s government, even though the city’s status is arguably the most contentious issue of the decades-long Israel-Palestine conflict.
"This is nothing more or less than a recognition of reality. It's also the right thing to do. It's something that has to be done,” he said.
No, it did not need to be done.
Trump trolls every issue where he can muck things up just to act like some sort of a contrarian. There was no real pressure coming on him to make this change.
The chance for violence is incredibly high now with his decision and Hamas called for three days of rage, so will he take responsibility if any bloodshed follows? And he's put many more Americans at risk now.
Josh Marshall writes, "The idea that you would just do something like this purely to gratify the Republican base, spurred by the President’s boredom and desire to upset people. That’s all unthinkable. Yet that is pretty clearly what is going on here."
"Not only did the President put the region’s issues in the hands of his neophyte son-in-law. He put it in the hands of a settlement activist. Obviously nothing possibly good can come of this," Marshall said.
Palestinian President Abbas was very unhappy:
“These condemned and unacceptable measures are a deliberate undermining of all efforts exerted to achieve peace and represent a declaration of the United States’s withdrawal from undertaking the role it has played over the past decades in sponsoring the peace process,” Abbas said in a televised speech.
Bloomberg reports that there was division within the highest levels of Trump's cabinet. While John Kelly, Nikki Haley and Mike Pence approve of his decision to blow up all hopes of a peace plan, Secretary of State Rex Tillerson and Secretary of Defense Jim Mattis opposed the move. Apparently Trump doesn't always "listen to the generals." In this case, he chose the religious extremists as his guide.