This is one of the most historic things to happen in the Middle East in decades.
Just a few days ago I reported that Donald Trump would recognize Jerusalem as the capital of Israel “in December”, and now we are being told that Trump will make this announcement at 1 PM eastern time on Wednesday. Administration officials are stressing that this move is a “recognition of reality”, because of course the seat of the Israeli government has been in the holy city for a very long time. But without a doubt this announcement will shake the Middle East to the core, because Israel’s neighbors are extremely displeased that Trump is doing this.
According to the Jerusalem Post, President Trump phoned leaders all over the Middle East on Tuesday to inform them about what would happen on Wednesday…
US President Donald Trump called the leaders of Israel, the Palestinian Authority, Jordan and Egypt on Tuesday to inform them of his intention to move the US Embassy in Tel Aviv to Jerusalem, 22 years after the US Congress called on the White House to do just that.
What Trump didn’t say, however, was when the move would take place, something that could provide some maneuvering room for him to try to tamp down Arab anger over the highly contentious step.
The recognition of Jerusalem as the capital of Israel will be immediate, but the U.S. embassy will probably not be moved for six months. The following comes from CNN…
The President is expected to make a public announcement Wednesday declaring his decision to recognize Jerusalem as the capital of Israel and his intent to move the US embassy from Tel Aviv, diplomatic officials and a person familiar with the plans tell CNN. Trump is also expected to sign a waiver delaying the embassy move for six months, citing the logistical challenges of moving US personnel.
By not moving the embassy immediately, administration officials are hoping that this will pacify Israel’s neighbors a little bit.
Unfortunately, that may not work. One prominent Arab leader has already statedthat he believes that Trump is “a pyromaniac who could set the entire region on fire with his madness”, and the Saudis are calling this “a flagrant provocation of Muslims”…
In Riyadh, the Saudi Press Agency said that King Salman bin Abdul Aziz had received a call from Trump, as well, and that the two discussed the potential moves. Using the Arabic name for Jerusalem, the king “reiterated that such a dangerous step of relocation or recognition of Al-Quds as the capital of Israel would constitute a flagrant provocation of Muslims, all over the world,” the agency said.
Once Trump’s announcement is made, all eyes will be on the Palestinians, and Palestinian leaders have already planned for protests to begin on Wednesday…
The Palestinian factions said protests will start on Wednesday and last until Friday at the very least. According to Palestinian leaders, marches against the decision are being backed by the Palestinian Authority.
Fatah Central Committee member Jamal Mahisan told Haaretz that Trump’s decision was an inflammatory material that will inspire Palestinians to take to the streets in rage. “The Palestinian people know how to protect their rights and we are in consultations regarding [our moves] in the coming days.”
The three days stretching from Wednesday to Friday are being called “three days of rage”, and it is very likely that we will see widespread violence. The following comes from the Jerusalem Post…
In a joint statement, the Palestinian “national and Islamic forces” announced three days of rage that would begin Wednesday and end on Friday. “We call on all our people in Israel and around the world to gather in city centers and Israeli embassies and consulates, with the aim of bringing about general popular anger,” the statement said.
The statement added that “a huge protest should be launched in order to reject out of hand the attempts of the US administration to transfer the embassy from Tel Aviv to Jerusalem or recognize Jerusalem as the capital of the State of Israel. The right of the people and the nation to act in all legal and diplomatic ways within the international community, the international law in the Hague, in order to torpedo this attempt,” the statement said, calling for an emergency meeting of the leaders of the Islamic countries and the Jerusalem Committee to emphasize their rejection of the American moves in Jerusalem.
Some U.S. officials had urged Trump not to make this sort of a move, but it is the right thing to do. U.S. policy should never be dictated by threats of violence, and I greatly applaud President Trump for refusing to be intimidated.
Hopefully things will not get too crazy over the next few days, but without a doubt U.S. facilities around the world will need to be on very high alert. In fact, one anonymous State Department official is concerned that U.S. embassies all over the globe could be targeted by violence…
“The impending Jerusalem announcement has me very worried about the possibility of violent responses that could affect embassies,” one State Department official told Politico. “I hope I’m wrong.”
And according to CBS News, U.S. government officials are being ordered to stay away from the Old City and the West Bank for now…
U.S. government employees and their families are being banned by the U.S. from personal visits to Jerusalem’s Old City and the West Bank, including Bethlehem and Jericho, amid the potential for demonstrations. The demonstrations are being planned as President Trump indicated that he intends to move the U.S. embassy in Israel from Tel Aviv to Jerusalem. He’s also expected to announce that the U.S. will recognize Jerusalem as Israel’s capital, a move that’s inflaming Arab sentiment against the U.S.
It takes a lot of courage to do the right thing even though you know that the other side may resort to violence.
Donald Trump’s recognition of Jerusalem as the capital of Israel is going to tremendously shake the entire Middle East, and nobody is quite sure what will happen next.
Let us pray that peace will prevail, but even if it doesn’t, Donald Trump has made the right choice and for that he should be greatly commended.