With his comments at the Davos Forum today, President Trump confirmed that the US decision to recognize Jerusalem as Israel’s capital prior to a negotiated peace agreement was intended to unilaterally decide an incredibly sensitive final status issue. “We took it off the table. We don’t have to talk about it anymore.” In doing so, he has further shattered US influence and credibility as a mediator in any negotiations. He has admitted that his administration is not just refusing to lead towards a viable two-state solution — it is actively inhibiting it.
For decades, there has been a consensus that while the US and the international community can play a vital role in facilitating Israeli-Palestinian peace, any final agreement and all core issues must be negotiated and decided between the two parties themselves. By putting his hand on the scale and telling the entire world that he has taken final status of Jerusalem “off the table,” the president has completely violated that basic precept.
Trump has decided that the US can dictate final terms to the Palestinians, playing judge and jury in the Middle East. His actions have made it deeply unlikely that any viable agreement could be reached while he remains in office.
Pro-Israel organizations, American Jewish leaders and elected officials of both parties who have consistently affirmed the importance of direct negotiations should be horrified by what the Trump administration has done. They should express outrage at the way in which a strategically inept leader is actively sabotaging the prospects for peace and dooming Israelis and Palestinians to endless cycles of conflict.
Those who believe President Trump’s actions have handed Israel some kind of victory are severely mistaken. His disastrous meddling with the core issues of this explosive conflict only imperil Israel’s security and its long-term future as a democratic homeland for the Jewish people.