The War Over Trump’s Embassy

Discussion in 'Politics and the Topics of the day' started by QueEx, May 14, 2018.

  1. QueEx

    QueEx Well-Known Member Super Moderator

    May 14, 2018 - 09:30 AM EDT
    The war over Mr. Trump's embassy

    There will be more than a few ironies when the United States formally opens its embassy in Jerusalem today, a day after Israel celebrated Jerusalem Day, which commemorates the conquest of East Jerusalem in the 1967 Six Day War.

    To begin with, had King Hussein of Jordan heeded Israeli entreaties and stayed out of that war, as he did six years later during the Yom Kippur War, East Jerusalem — indeed, the entire West Bank — might still be in Jordanian hands today. Moreover, despite all the fuss and fury over the decision to move the embassy from Tel Aviv, the building actually is located in West Jerusalem, which houses the Israeli government (apart from the Defense Ministry) and which the Palestinians have not claimed as their future capital.

    Finally, the “embassy” actually will comprise a few offices, at least until the completion of a new compound. For the moment, most American diplomatic business still will be conducted from Tel Aviv, though in practice for the last several decades embassy personnel have endured the trip to Jerusalem on traffic-clogged roads in order to meet with government officials.

    The opening of the embassy, therefore, should not be that big a deal. But it is. Hamas has latched onto the embassy’s opening as a vehicle for enabling its miserable citizenry to vent against the hated Jews. (Hamas does not distinguish between Jews, wherever they might live, and Israel — it wishes them all dead.)

    Hamas’s stewardship of Gaza has been nothing short of disastrous. Moreover, it has become increasingly frustrated, as it no longer is able to tunnel under the border to kill Israeli civilians. In addition, it recognizes that, should it launch a major rocket attack, the Israeli response will be no less overwhelming than that of 2008-2009, when Israel’s Operation Cast Lead reduced Gaza to a state of wretchedness from which it has yet to recover. Finally, it has seen not only Egypt move ever closer to Israel, but also the Saudis and the Emiratis, whose governments despise the Muslim Brotherhood to which Hamas belongs.

    Hamas, therefore, has inspired the weekly Friday demonstrations along the border fence with Israel to divert attention away from its own incompetence and to regain international attention by seizing upon the casualties that, in most cases, have resulted from sporadic Gazan attempts to breach the border fence with Israel.

    In actuality, the number of fatalities arising from Israeli fire during the Friday protests has dropped precipitously as Israeli troops have refined their methods of keeping demonstrators at bay. Since Hamas thrives on reports of wanton Israeli bloodshed, this development is yet another source of frustration for Gaza’s cynical rulers. They can only hope that the number of Palestinians killed over the next few days will equal or exceed the dozens who died during the first weeks of Friday demonstrations. At least 41 Palestinians were killed in border clashes with Israeli troops in the hours leading up to the embassy's inauguration ceremony.

    The Israeli military reinforced the border fence and called up more troops to patrol it. Jerusalem anticipates that more Gazans will attempt to break through into Israeli territory, supposedly to reclaim lands that may or may not have belonged to their grandparents and great-grandparents. It will take all the restraint of the highly professional Israel Defense Forces (IDF) to avert the bloodbath that Hamas desperately seeks; whether the IDF will succeed is an open question.

    Even as Gazans demonstrate, Israelis also will remain on a heightened state of alert both because they expect major demonstrations in the West Bank and in anticipation of either Hezbollah or Iran — or both — choosing to fire rockets into Israel, either to complicate its ability to deal with the Gaza protests or to send a message to Hamas that it retains their support. Israel and Iran already are in a low-level but increasingly intense war that has emerged from the shadows, with Iran firing rockets into Israel and the Israelis, as is their wont, responding with overwhelming airborne firepower.

    Should Iran again launch a rocket attack on Israeli territory, the IDF, which claims to have destroyed 70 percent of Iran’s military infrastructure in Syria, may go after the remaining 30 percent, or even take the war to Iranian territory. Hezbollah, urged on by Tehran, may then launch many of its 150,000 rockets against Israel. And the opening of a small American office building in Jerusalem could then result in the start of yet another large-scale war in the ever-volatile Middle East.

    That is not an outcome that Mr. Trump is likely to relish but it is one that would likely drag him into a war he does not seek, yet, should it materialize, he will be unable to avoid.

    Dov S. Zakheim is a senior advisor at the Center for Strategic and International Studies, and vice chairman of the board for the Foreign Policy Research Institute. He previously was senior vice president of Booz Allen Hamilton, where he led the firm’s support of U.S. combatant commanders worldwide. He was Under Secretary of Defense (Comptroller) and chief financial officer for the Department of Defense from 2001-2004, and was the DOD’s coordinator of civilian programs in Afghanistan from 2002-2004. He was a Deputy Under Secretary of Defense from 1985-1987.

  2. MCP

    MCP International Member ****


    In a graphic demonstration of disregard for the lives and rights of Palestinians, a smiling Ivanka Trump welcomed Israeli dignitaries to the new U.S. Embassy in Jerusalem on Monday, while, just 60 miles away in Gaza, Israel’s armed forces shot hundreds of Palestinian protesters, killing at least 60.

    Treasury Secretary @stevenmnuchin1 and Senior Advisor @IvankaTrump unveiled the U.S. #embassy in #Jerusalem, declaring the city, once again, the capital of #Israel:

    — i24NEWS English (@i24NEWS_EN) May 14, 2018

    Left: #Jerusalem
    Right: #Gaza

    (Pictures taken at the same time this afternoon)

    — Patrick Galey (@patrickgaley) May 14, 2018

    As American officials, including President Donald Trump’s former bankruptcy lawyer, Ambassador David Friedman, offered the new embassy to Israel as a sort of gift to celebrate the 70th anniversary of the founding of the Jewish state, thousands of Palestinians came under fire from Israeli snipers for demanding the right to return to homes that their families were forced to abandon in 1948.

    There are 60 miles between Gaza and Jerusalem. An hour drive on a good road between a celebration and a massacre. This is not apathy, it is cruelty.

    — Av Gutman (@abgutman) May 14, 2018

    Death toll in Gaza today rises to 52, over 2,400 wounded. At Shifa hospital a doctor who worked there for 17 years said he had never seen a day like this.

    — Sharif Kouddous (@sharifkouddous) May 14, 2018

    16-year-old Tallal Mattar has died of wounds sustained yesterday, according to health ministry. Death toll from Monday now at 60.

    — Sharif Kouddous (@sharifkouddous) May 15, 2018

    More than two-thirds of the Palestinians confined to Gaza are refugees from towns and cities in what is now Israel. The protests along Israel’s perimeter fence that began on March 30 — and were immediately met with lethal force — are intended to draw attention to what Palestinians refer to as the “nakba,” or catastrophe, of Israel’s founding, which led to the forcible displacement of some 750,000 Palestinians.

    “Choosing a tragic day in Palestinian history shows great insensibility and disrespect for the core principles of the peace process,” said Palestinian Prime Minister Rami Hamdallah in a statement.

    What a great day for the great American-Israeli alliance ????

    ?????: ??? ??????, ????

    — Benjamin Netanyahu (@netanyahu) May 14, 2018

    Big day for Israel. Congratulations!

    — Donald J. Trump (@realDonaldTrump) May 14, 2018

    The US president, everyone. Ululating the 1948 massacres by Haganah and Irgun Zionist forces and today allowing the continuation of it by not only rewarding Israel, but also saying it is okay to take lands if you slaughter enough people. #Palestine #Nakba70

    — ???? ???????? (@MariamBarghouti) May 14, 2018

    The death toll on Monday means that Israel has now killed more than 90 Palestinians in the past six weeks for approaching the fence it placed around Gaza, surpassing the total number of East Germans shot and killed for trying to scale the Berlin Wall from 1961 to 1989.

    As the Trump administration signaled its full embrace of the ultranationalist Israeli position, Palestinian-American activists suggested that news coverage of the massacre in Gaza was biased against the protesters.

    When you talk about Palestinians "attempting to charge a fence" or "breach a border" in the context of Gaza you are accepting and normalizing the notion that they have no right to return to their homes.

    — (((YousefMunayyer))) (@YousefMunayyer) May 14, 2018

    Over 70% of the Palestinian population in Gaza are refugees. They live under Israeli occupation and siege. If they dare protest, they are executed by sniper fire. They are denied their right to return. The media normalizes their murder. Their simple struggle for freedom smeared

    — Remi Kanazi (@Remroum) May 14, 2018

    In remarks at the embassy ceremony, Trump’s son-in-law and novice peace envoy, Jared Kushner, blamed Palestinian protesters — not the Israeli snipers who gunned them down: “As we have seen from the protests of the last month and even today, those provoking violence are part of the problem and not part of the solution.”

    "Those provoking violence are part of the problem and not part of the solution."

    Jared Kushner, Donald Trump's Middle East envoy and son-in-law, speaks at the new US embassy in Jerusalem, following protests in Gaza in which reportedly dozens of Palestinians were killed.

    — Channel 4 News (@Channel4News) May 14, 2018

    Kushner also praised his father-in-law for keeping a campaign promise made to supporters of Israel.

    Jared Kushner: “When President Trump makes a promise, he keeps it.”

    — Fox News (@FoxNews) May 14, 2018

    The sense that Trump had taken a major foreign policy decision mainly for domestic political reasons was underscored by the front-row seats awarded to Sheldon Adelson, a major donor to both his campaign and those of Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu.

    First row at the embassy opening, from left to right: David Friedman, Tammy Friedman, Sara Netanyahu, Benjamin Netanyahu, Jared Kushner, Ivanka Trump, Reuven Rivlin, Steven Mnuchin, Sheldon Adelson.

    Chief rabbis and cabinet ministers are seated in the row behind them.

    — Raphael Ahren (@RaphaelAhren) May 14, 2018

    At a party the night before the ceremony, Adelson and his Israeli-born wife, Miriam, described themselves as “euphoric” over Trump’s decision to effectively recognize Israel’s annexation of Jerusalem, which it seized by military force in 1967.

    ????? ????? ??????: ?????????, ??? ???? ??? ??????, ??? ????? ?? ???? ??????

    — Noa Landau (@noa_landau) May 13, 2018

    “This is a massacre of a stateless population living under military siege,” the Israeli-American writer Mairav Zonszein wrote in +972, a digital magazine with contributors in Israel and Palestine. “And we are all accomplices for not doing more to stop it.”

    “The overwhelming majority of the Jewish Israeli population has not spoken out,” Zonszein added. “According to an Israel Democracy Institute Peace Index poll from April, 83 percent of Jewish Israelis find the IDF’s open fire policy in Gaza ‘appropriate.’ Just hours after the massacre, thousands went out into the streets to celebrate the Eurovision winner Netta Barzilai in Tel Aviv.”

    This is Rabin Square, Tel Aviv, tonight. Tens of thousands gathered, not protest the killings in Gaza, but to celebrate Israel's #Eurovision victory.

    Photo via @WallaNews

    — Elizabeth Tsurkov (@Elizrael) May 14, 2018

    In Jerusalem and Washington, hundreds of young Jewish activists from the groups If Not Now and All That’s Left did protest Trump’s decision to ignore Palestinian claims and move the U.S. embassy before the final status of the city has been negotiated.


    — IfNotNow (@IfNotNowOrg) May 14, 2018

    Police uses violence against protesters

    — All That's Left (@ATLCol) May 14, 2018

    The Israeli human rights group B’Tselem, which monitors conditions for Palestinians living under military rule in the territories Israel has occupied since 1967, denounced the killings. “The fact that live gunfire is once again the sole measure that the Israeli military is using in the field evinces appalling indifference towards human life on the part of senior Israeli government and military officials,” the group said in a statement. “B’Tselem calls for an immediate halt to the killing of Palestinian demonstrators. If the relevant officials do not issue an order to stop the lethal fire, the soldiers in the field must refuse to comply with these manifestly unlawful open-fire orders.”

    As Palestinians in Gaza buried their dead and prepared to protest again on Tuesday, Daniel Seidemann, a Jerusalem peace activist, suggested that America’s full capitulation to Israeli extremists had dealt a further blow to dreams of a two-state solution to the conflict — making a single, binational state inevitable.

    Infuriation and grief throughout Gaza and large number of funerals #Gaza

    — Farah Baker (@Farah_Gazan) May 14, 2018

    This probably will sound pathetic, but my thoughts are not at the fetishistic embassy ceremony nearby, but with the residents of Gaza, and the families of those killed today.

    The day will come when we will share this tortured land, even if I will not live to see it.

    God bless.

    — Daniel Seidemann (@DanielSeidemann) May 14, 2018

    Updated: Tuesday, May 15, 6:27 a.m. EDT
    This post was updated with a revised death toll as more Palestinians shot by Israeli snipers during protests on Monday died of their wounds.

    Top photo: Ivanka Trump and Steven Mnuchin, the U.S. Treasury secretary, welcomed Israeli dignitaries to the new U.S. Embassy in Jerusalem on Monday.

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