Trump’s Greatest Betrayal Has Dire Consequences

  • Middle East Policy

    Middle East Policy has been one of the world’s most cited publications on the region since its inception in 1982, and our Breaking Analysis series makes high-quality, diverse analysis available to a broader audience.

Khalaf Ahmad Al Habtoor
Guest Commentary

December 07, 2017

Almost all America’s closest allies have cautioned US President Donald Trump against recognizing Jerusalem as Israel’s capital warning of potentially grave repercussions. France, the United Kingdom, the European Union and Turkey have all urged him to reconsider. Senior US officials are said to disagree with his decision. Secretary of State Rex Tillerson sounds less than enthusiastic.

Last week, 150 United Nations (UN) member states voted in favour of a resolution condemning Israel’s claim to an undivided Jerusalem; only six countries voted against.

A new poll conducted by the University of Maryland found that 63 per cent of Americans oppose relocating the American Embassy to Jerusalem from Tel Aviv.

Pope Francis and the Grand Imam of Al-Azhar Ahmed el-Tayeb appealed to him not to proceed, but on Wednesday, he defied the international community and stabbed his nation’s Arab friends, in particular Saudi Arabia, the United Arab Emirates, Egypt and Jordan, in the back.

He has prostrated himself before Israel while attempting to portray himself as a peacemaker. What he has done is akin to a doctor saying, ‘Don’t worry, you will soon be well’ as he injects his patient with a lethal poison.

The man is taking us for fools. He and his Jewish settlement-funding/supporting so called envoys, his son-in-law Jared Kushner and Jason Greenblatt, can never be trusted intermediaries. They are lackeys of the occupying power.

His announcement was insulting. He praised Israel to the hilt as “one of the most successful democracies in the world” where “Jews, Christians and Muslims and Christians and peoples of all faiths are free to live and worship”.

Tell that to the Palestinians barred from the Haram el-Sharif. Tell that to the families whose homes have been demolished and whose lands have been stolen.

His couched message to Arabs was to respond to his decision ‘with reasoned debate, not violence’ and ‘to expel extremists from their midst’. Does he not realize that he has just ramped up extremism by killing all hope of there ever being a Palestinian state with Jerusalem as its capital?

Hamas, which was open to reconciling with Fatah and for the first time agreed to a Palestinian state on 1967 borders, has now announced that Trump has ‘opened the gates of hell’.

Iran and Hezbollah will tout this terrible news as a pretext for increased aggression. Islamist militants of all stripes may attack US interests. Mr Trump knows this, which is why the Pentagon has dispatched US Marines to protect American embassies in the Middle East.

I pray that there is no loss of life but if any blood is spilled it will be on the US President’s hands. Of course, he will never admit his mistake. He will cite retaliatory acts of violence to justify his predominately anti-Muslim travel ban, anti-Islamic statements and to tighten his hug of Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu, who was quick to express the gratitude of the ‘Jewish State and the Jewish People’ for Trump’s ‘act of political bravery’.

Trump has trampled upon every vestige of America’s credibility. Rather than make his country great, he has turned it into an international irrelevance. He has thumbed his nose at decades of US foreign policy, hinting his predecessors were ‘lacking in courage’. He has made a mockery of often-touted American values by blessing the illegal occupation of a city occupied during war.

Under international law, it is illegal for a country to seize land acquired by force. That flies in the face of the UN charter, the Fourth Geneva Convention and a slew of UN Security Council resolutions.

Article 55 of the Laws of War states: ‘The occupying state shall be regarded only as an administrator…’ Thus, Israel has no legal right to claim Jerusalem as its capital and neither does the US.

Russian President Vladimir Putin could now take a leaf out of his American counterpart’s book to claim that Russia’s annexation of Crimea was morally just due to ‘realities on the ground’, the line Trump has taken to explain his motivation for recognizing Jerusalem as the capital of the Jewish state.

If an armed man breaks into someone’s home, kicks the rightful owners into the street and lives there with his wife, children and pet dog, no court would legitimize the theft on the grounds that the thief’s slippers under the bed signified a new reality.

The sixty-four thousand dollar question is why did Trump feel compelled to do such a highly controversial act which many believe smacks of insanity? Television pundits are still scratching their heads trying to figure that one out.

Trump said the move is good for America but neglected to explain in which way. He did not because it is not.

The fact is the only person it benefits is the President himself who has struggled to get his bills passed through Congress but who can now assert that he kept his campaign promise.

Trump can also pat himself on the back for faithfully complying with the demands of his billionaire supporters, President of the World Jewish Congress Ronald Lauder and Netanyahu’s buddy Sheldon Adelson, who describes the Palestinians as ‘a made-up people’.

He has fulfilled his pledge to Evangelical Christian Zionists who make up a substantial proportion of his base. Put simply, his sole goal is to consolidate his popularity with the people whose votes propelled him to the White House.

On Saturday, the League of Arab States is holding an emergency meeting and the Organization of Islamic Cooperation will meet next Wednesday in Istanbul. It is imperative that Arab and Muslim nations not only speak with one voice but agree to meaningful countermeasures and joint strategies.

Without any shadow of a doubt Donald Trump is the worst President in US history. He is not only an embarrassment but also a dangerous belligerent pushing the hands of the Doomsday Clock too close to midnight for comfort. He needs to go. If public protest cannot shift him and the Republican Congress has no stomach for impeachment, perhaps the key lies with Special Prosecutor Robert Mueller.

  • Middle East Policy

    Middle East Policy has been one of the world’s most cited publications on the region since its inception in 1982, and our Breaking Analysis series makes high-quality, diverse analysis available to a broader audience.

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