Why Is Trump’s Jerusalem Decision Such a Big Deal for Foreign Policy?

This month President Trump’s White House reversed decades of U.S. foreign policy by officially acknowledging Jerusalem as the capital of Israel. This means the U.S. embassy will be relocated from Tel Aviv to Jerusalem.

It would be difficult to overemphasize the significance of this decision. Just in the short time since Trump’s announcement, the potential fallout has become clear.

After an emergency session, the Arab League denounced the decision, arguing that it serves little practical purpose other than to stir up resentments and encourage unrest in the Middle East. They aren’t wrong.

In Beirut, Lebanon, hundreds of protesters — many of them Palestinian refugees — gathered near the U.S. embassy to decry Trump’s act. The demonstration turned violent as police began using water cannons and tear gas on the crowd. Roughly 50 people were injured.

Even larger numbers marched on the U.S. embassy in Jakarta, Indonesia. Estimates suggest that at least 5,000 people turned up to express solidarity with the Palestinians.

And thousands more participated in demonstrations across the globe.

Why is this seemingly minor action such a big deal? First, it’s worth examining a little historical context.

Claims to East Jerusalem — a portion of Jerusalem that the Palestinians view as their would-be capital — have been divided since its occupation by Jordan in 1948. As a result of the Six-Day War in 1967, however, Israel captured the whole of Jerusalem and still holds it today. Palestinians and most of the Arab world view this as an illegal occupation.

The United States has long been a close ally to Israel, but since 1967 the country has attempted to toe the line of neutrality by refusing to acknowledge Jerusalem or East Jerusalem as capitals of either nation. This recent move by the Trump administration, however, may prove to be too much for Palestinians and their Arab allies.

And it’s already proving to be costly to any attempts at peaceful coexistence.

Trump has justified his decision as “nothing more or less than a recognition of reality” — signaling that the United States no longer has any genuine interest in helping Palestinians and Israelis achieve an amicable solution. And because of this, the U.S. will no longer be invited to the negotiating table.

That may not sound like the worst possible outcome, particularly for those supporting Trump’s declaration, but it creates a diplomatic vacuum that other world powers will be more than happy to fill — and not just when it comes to the Israel-Palestine situation.

As with the conflict in Syria and Iraq, major powers China and Russia have overtly displayed their interest in pursuing a widening influence in the Middle East. Trump’s latest foreign policy blunder is short-sighted and has almost certainly set U.S. relations with the Arab world back years — if not decades.

Trump’s foreign policy seems to be built upon a belief that the U.S. is the world’s only superpower. But that era is in its final days. Isolationism and unilateral diplomatic actions like this will not benefit the United States in any manner, especially when it comes to regions like the Middle East.

Photo Credit: Shmuel Spiegelman / Wikimedia Commons

87 comments

Lisa M
Lisa M6 days ago

Noted.

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Lisa M
Lisa M6 days ago

Noted.

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David C
David Cabout a month ago

thanks

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Glennis W
Glennis Wabout a month ago

So deplorable and shocking very sad Thank you for caring and sharing

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Glennis W
Glennis Wabout a month ago

Thump is an Imbecile this should never happen Thank you for caring and sharing

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Glennis W
Glennis Wabout a month ago

So very sad and discriminating Thank you for caring and sharing

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Glennis W
Glennis Wabout a month ago

Deplorable Thank you for caring and sharing

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Carole R
Carole Rabout a month ago

Thanks for posting.

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Peggy B
Peggy Babout a month ago

They should share.

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Chrissie R
Chrissie Rabout a month ago

Because Israel has a right to exist!!!

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