There’s a good reason why no nation on Earth has their embassy in Jerusalem. But Donald Trump wants to pull on that thread to see what happens. He’s making a deadly mistake.
The Middle East has been volatile for centuries, and tensions were only made worse in 1947 when the United Nations created the state of Israel. Wars have been waged over the city of Jerusalem. Three major religions consider it their holy city, including Christians, Muslims, and Jews.
And that’s why Jerusalem is considered an international city by the international community. Currently, zero countries have embassies in the city, opting to have their embassies in Tel Aviv instead.
That’s why most nations merely have consulates in Jerusalem.
But by declaring Jerusalem the capital of Israel, a status that would likely be contentious, Trump would place the United States in a very awkward position.
For decades, America has tried to achieve peace between Israel and Palestinians. Trump would be effectively ending that effort with this single move, which he has been moving toward for awhile. And he would anger neighboring nations as well, including Iran. In fact, not only would the decision end any prospect of peace, it would be considered a hostile act toward the Muslim world, and once again give ISIS and other terrorist organizations another propaganda tool to use for recruitment. Or give Iran an excuse to attack Israel and rip up the nuclear deal.
Again, the United States will be front and center on this embassy decision, making us the primary target of Muslim anger, thus putting our diplomatic staff and troops at risk, which would likely result in dragging us into a costly and deadly war.
In fact, Trump’s decision has already drawn a warning from the Organization of Islamic Cooperation, which represents 57 nations in the Middle East and Africa. The OIC supports the two-state solution to the Israeli-Palestinian conflict. Jerusalem is central to this solution because East Jerusalem would be the capital of the future Palestinian state.
If Trump declares Jerusalem the capital of Israel and moves the United States embassy there, he will be inflaming the Muslim world. America would also be alone because our allies are not going to risk pissing off their Muslim populations, nor would they want to break an international consensus that has been the norm for 70 years.
The goal here should be achieving peace, not starting a massive conflict. But that’s what Trump apparently wants to do. And we will be less safe because of it.