Trump’s Jerusalem move is a big risk says top US newspapers

Washington, Dec 7: US President Donald Trump’s decision to recognise Jerusalem as the capital of Israel may play well with his domestic political base but is a big risk and would derail the peace process in the volatile Middle East, top American media outlets warned Thursday.

Trump recognised Jerusalem as Israel’s capital Wednesday, reversing nearly seven decades of US and international policy on the holy city.

In an editorial, The Washington Post said Trump cast himself as setting aside failed conventional wisdom — he pointed out there has been no peace deal — and of offering a fresh approach.

“That’s a stance that may play well with his domestic political base and with many Israelis. But Trump is implicitly betting that previous presidents were wrong to worry about blowback in the Middle East and beyond. That’s a big risk to take for the scoring of political points,” the daily said.

In its lead editorial, the daily said so far, Trump’s decision has been rejected by every major US ally in Europe and the Middle East, including Britain, France, Egypt and Saudi Arabia.

“It will put considerable pressure on Jordan, Israel’s fragile neighbour, whose King Abdullah II sees himself as a protector of Jerusalem’s holy Muslim sites. It will probably make it harder to promote a tacit alliance between Israel and Sunni Arab states against Iran, as Tehran will surely exploit the Jerusalem issue,” the daily said.

“It will also virtually ensure that Palestinian leaders respond unfavourably to the peace initiative the Trump administration says it is preparing. If violence erupts in Jerusalem or elsewhere in the Middle East — and extremists will do their best to make that happen — Trump will be blamed,” the Post said.

The New York Times says Trump’s decision to tip the scales toward Israel on this critical matter almost certainly will make an agreement harder to reach by inflaming doubts about America’s honesty and fairness as a broker in negotiations, raising new tension in the region and perhaps inciting violence.

“The constituency Trump is most clearly courting is his own political base of evangelicals and other pro-Israel hard-liners,” it said, adding the big winner is Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu, whose hard-line government has shown no serious interest in peace, at least not a two-state solution that could win Palestinian support.

However, The Wall Street Journal in its lead editorial said Trump’s decision is hardly the radical policy departure that critics claim and Trump accompanied it with an embrace of the two-state solution for Palestine that Presidents of both parties have long supported.

“Trump called his decision Wednesday “a recognition of reality,” and he is right. Israel’s parliament, Supreme Court and the president and prime minister’s residences are housed in Jerusalem and US Presidents and Secretaries of State meet their Israeli counterparts there,” the daily said.

Meanwhile, two White House officials told CNN that this would derail the peace process. “We’re prepared for derailment — temporary, I hope. Pretty sure it will be temporary,” a senior White House official, told the network.  (Agencies)

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