Trump throws fuel on rag­ing in­ferno

The Citizen (KZN) - - OPINION -

Don­ald Trump prides him­self on car­ry­ing through on both his threats and his prom­ises … no mat­ter how un­com­fort­able they make oth­ers feel. The Amer­i­can pres­i­dent ap­pears to care lit­tle for the niceties of diplo­macy or even pub­lic opin­ion, save for the views of the peo­ple who put him in of­fice.

That is why, in a move which could have se­ri­ous im­pli­ca­tions, Trump has an­nounced that the US now recog­nises the di­vided city of Jerusalem as the cap­i­tal of the state of Is­rael. He promised his supporters, in his elec­tion cam­paign, that he would do so – and he has.

Pres­i­dents be­fore him promised the same, with their eyes on both the con­ser­va­tive Chris­tian com­mu­nity in the US and the pow­er­ful lobby group of rightwing Jews … but when they stood in the Oval Of­fice in Wash­ing­ton, re­alpoli­tik made them pull back.

Trump is only en­forc­ing a law passed in the US some years ago, but which suc­ces­sive Amer­i­can pres­i­dents have kept at bay by sign­ing hold or­ders on it ev­ery six months. The rea­sons usu­ally cited are to do with “na­tional se­cu­rity”.

There are those who ar­gue that Trump may have jeop­ar­dised Amer­i­can na­tional se­cu­rity be­cause the move has in­flamed ten­sions across the Mid­dle East and, say some com­men­ta­tors, the sit­u­a­tion will play into the hands of ter­ror­ists and ex­trem­ists.

Recog­ni­tion of Jerusalem as Is­rael’s cap­i­tal has been wel­comed by few coun­tries be­cause many view it as sab­o­tag­ing any ef­forts at solv­ing the Pales­tinian ques­tion, and es­pe­cially the pro­posed “two state” so­lu­tion.

Trump’s camp be­lieve recog­ni­tion will clear away the hypocrisy sur­round­ing the peace process and will make fur­ther ne­go­ti­a­tions much more re­al­is­tic.

We don’t know if that is true, but we do think Trump’s move could be like pour­ing more fuel on an al­ready rag­ing and un­quench­able fire.

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