A few weeks ago I wrote in these same columns: “sooner or later, the Palestinian question will reemerge.” No doubt when you least expect it. It was on the occasion of the 100th anniversary of the Balfour Declaration. To be frank, I did not think that the Israeli-Palestinian conflict would return so hastily and to figure prominently in world affairs.
The announcement of the transfer of the US Embassy from Tel Aviv to Jerusalem had at least one major benefit. That of showing the true colors of the United Sates.
The US has undeniably deserted its “honest broker” role for a long time, but this time its position is at least quite clear, it is official. Washington has openly picked a side, that of Israel which has long colonized and monopolized Palestinian land.
This pro-Israel stance presents many challenges. First, at the level of the international community. Through its decision, the United States flouts United Nations resolutions, yet evidently it’s not the first time in history.
In 2003, by declaring the war against Iraq, the American administration has shown little or no regard for international legality, and the UN has never recovered from it. It is high time that the other major diplomatic actors including China, Russia, the European Union along with major emerging countries, etc. slow down Donald Trump’s relentless campaign of destablization. Obviously, it is no simple task but is there any another alternative?
High time for reevaluations
For the Palestinians, and especially for their leadership presided by Mahmoud Abbas, it is high time for reevaluations. It is time to rethink the whole political strategy: what new forms of resistance? Should the Palestinian Authority be dissolved? How could a new generation of leaders emerge?
By deciding the fate of Jerusalem, Donald Trump has just dealt the Oslo Accords a final blow. So what are, if any, the future possible prospects?
For Israel, Trump has offered a poisoned chalice. The question of Jerusalem will but reignite a cycle of violence be it in the shorter or longer term. The Israelis are betting that nothing will happen, and that the Palestinians are not intending on starting a third intifada, but they are probably committing a grave error of judgment.
For Israel, Trump has offered a poisoned chalice. The question of Jerusalem will but reignite a cycle of violence be it in the shorter or longer term. The Israelis are betting that nothing will happen, and that the Palestinians are not intending on starting a third ‘intifada’, but they are probably committing a grave error of judgment.Christian Chesnot
The American president has just remobilized the Palestinian street. The Jerusalem affair has not produced an instant uprising, yet it has certainly created a shock wave that will have very serious repercussions.
The United States has rekindled an explosive subject arousing and unleashing the passions of all Muslims and Christians around the world.
Hence, by rushing into the Jerusalem question, Donald Trump seems to be further plummeting ahead, but for what end? America is not only completely isolated on the international scene - reprobation is global - but it has become a foil as well as a discredited actor that is both dangerous and unreliable.
Therein lies the whole paradox, yet Iran and Hezbollah, on the other hand, can offer a very big thank you to Donald Trump! Israeli-Palestinian peace is now pushed back to an indefinite date for who will want now to negotiate with the Jewish state? Indeed, in the light of Trump’s decision, moderates, like King Abdullah of Jordan and Mahmoud Abbas, are humiliated and weakened.
Under George Bush Jr., America had offered a pitiful show of arrogance by proclaiming itself the first world power to attack Afghanistan and Iraq. We all know by now the result of this endeavor that could be, in turn, explained - not justified - by the attacks of September 11, 2001 which traumatized the American psyche.
Today, Donald Trump is undoubtedly inspired by the concept of “constructive chaos” that is so dear to Condoleeza Rice, former secretary of state ... but in its more incoherent version.
The question now is whether the “deep state” of America, or the establishment that runs this country, will be able to restrain and tame this utterly unpredictable president. In this context, calling into question the status of Jerusalem must sound like a warning signal.
Christian Chesnot is grand reporter at Radio France in Paris in charge of the Middle East affairs. He has been based as correspondent in Cairo and Amman. He has written several books on Palestine, Iraq, Syria and the Gulf. Chesnot tweets @cchesnot.
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