President Trump has announced that he will move Israel’s U.S embassy from Tel Aviv to the disputed city of Jerusalem, a move that has been long called for by the most ardent pro-Israel hardliners but seen as devastating to any chance of peace in the region.
Already, that is proving to be a very bad idea.
For decades, Israel has been America’s closest ally in the Middle East, but presidents of both parties have consistently viewed the embassy relocation as a foolish move with no pay off that would wreck the peace process while leading to widespread violence and loss of life. Now, we know why.
Today, Hamas, the militant Palestinian group running the occupied region of Gaza, released a statement saying that “Trump’s decision…opens the gates of hell”.
Hamas is calling for a “day of rage” this Friday over what they say is a crossing of “a red line.” Jerusalem is a holy city for Jews, Muslims, and Christians alike with many ancient sites deemed sacred to all three — though evangelical Christians who trace their roots to Judaism are some of the staunchest supporters of Jerusalem serving as Israel’s capital.
While Hamas’ violent tactics should not be rewarded, Trump’s reckless decision is at best a symbolic victory for his Israel-first supporters and offers no tangible upside to any but those who wish to see the Middle East in tatters.
Make no mistake, Trump’s actions will cause the loss of innocent lives, and as usual the trade off is nothing more than allowing him to say he got a win.