After having promised his belligerent base that he would do so, this past Wednesday, President Trump finally officially recognized the city of Jerusalem as the capital of Israel. He’s had his son-in-law and unpaid adviser Jared Kushner on the issue of the Israeli-Palestinian conflict for some time, but with his Wednesday decision, he effectively fired a torpedo at efforts to reach a peace agreement between the two groups. Palestinians want East Jerusalem to be the capital of a future state.
Now, Ismail Haniyeh, the leader of the Palestinian terror group Hamas, has called on his followers to be prepared to take matters into their own hands and stage a new “intifada,” or uprising, against Israel.
The First and Second Intifadas were periods of increased violence between Israelis and Palestinians; all in all, thanks in no small part to the intentional provocation of interests like Haniyeh, thousands of Israelis and Palestinians were killed.
Now, thanks to our president’s absolute ineptitude when it comes to issues of foreign policy, Haniyeh has taken the opportunity to express his desire for that to happen again. Trump, to be sure, tried to leave the door open for future border-defining peace talks in his remarks about the matter, but seeing as in the meantime, Trump has legitimized Israeli control over the city, Haniyeh is not interested.
The Associated Press reports he said, “The American decision is an aggression on our people and a war on our sanctuaries.” He also said, “We want the uprising to last and continue to let Trump and the occupation regret this decision.” He hopes the uprising will begin Friday.
Haniyeh is far from the only one interested in violence. The Israel Defense Forces have prepared for widespread violence thanks to Trump’s belligerent decision. Sure, it pleases his far-right Israeli ally, Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu, and sure, it pleases his base, a group of people who have absolutely no stake in this decision whatsoever, but was it really necessary to go against the precedent set by numerous others and spark violence in the Middle East?
As the AP reports, on Thursday, incidents of Israeli-Palestinian violence took place in cities including Bethlehem and Ramallah, although, according to the news organization, “There were no serious casualties reported in Thursday’s clashes.”
It’s not as though no one saw this coming.
Palestinian President Mahmoud Abbas, the BBC reports, contacted world leaders ahead of Trump officially announcing his Jerusalem decision to try and get them to do something about it. He remarked, “Such a US decision would destroy the peace process and drag the region into further instability.”
Numerous world leaders, including from across the Muslim world, spoke out against the president’s decision. As most of us are pretty well aware of at this point; however, there’s not really any getting through to Trump. He does what he wants no matter what the consequences on the domestic front or the global front are.
There are parallels here to the president’s behavior on another big foreign policy issue – that of the seemingly ever-growing threat from North Korea’s nuclear arsenal. He has proceeded basically unimpeded with his belligerent rhetoric against the country, even though it’s given them an excuse to continue building their nuclear arsenal.
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