Donald Trump lit the match to the holiest of sites to three different religion, Jerusalem. Every other president since Harry Truman through Barack Obama has held back on making Jerusalem a capital as a vital bargaining chip. The master deal-maker gave it all away. In an exclusive, Reuters uncovered a document that proved Trump knew full well what threats he was unleashing.
Jerusalem has stood in the way of Israeli-Palestinian peace. Israel believes it is entitled to all of Jerusalem for its nation’s capital. The Palestinians were displaced to make room for the nation of Israel, and they want to be recognized as their own separate and equal country. Its people want their capital located in the eastern portion of Jerusalem.
In the 1967 Middle East War, Israel took that part of the city, even though the nations of the world never recognized that move. An encroaching number of conservative Israelis have been settling the area, also known as the East Bank, displacing the Palestinians who lived there legally.
Trump just reversed decades of diplomacy with the U.S. acting as an unbiased negotiator. Even after this president leaves office, parties in the area will not be inclined to see America return to an objective mediator. The U.S.’s friends and adversaries, ranging from Russia to France and China to Jordan, warned Trump of the consequences of his actions.
Reuters’ first document, dated December 6, included talking points for the U.S. Embassy located in Tel Aviv’s officials to give to Israeli officials. It read:
‘While I recognize that you will publicly welcome this news, I ask that you restrain your official response. We expect there to be resistance to this news in the Middle East and around the world. We are still judging the impact this decision will have on U.S. facilities and personnel overseas.’
Reuters also uncovered another document, this one from the State Department and dated December 6. It read that the department had instigated an internal task force for actions after Trump decided to unilaterally make Jerusalem Israel’s capital:
‘To track worldwide developments.’
An anonymous U.S. official said setting up a task force was standard operating procedure:
‘Any time there is a concern about the safety and security of U.S. government personnel or U.S. citizens.’
The document asked European officials to emphasize that Trump’s Jerusalem decision was not about “final status” issues vital to the Israeli and Palestinian peace agreement:
‘You are in a key position to influence international reaction to this announcement and we are asking you to amplify the reality that Jerusalem is still a final status issue between Israelis and Palestinians and that the parties must resolve the dimensions of Israel’s sovereignty in Jerusalem during their negotiations.’
The document continued:
‘You know that this is a unique Administration. It makes bold moves. But it is bold moves that are going to be needed if peace efforts are finally going to be successful.’
The State Department had no comment for Reuters.
Featured Images via Getty Images/Chip Somodevilla.