President Trump's Jerusalem embassy move is part of a much bigger plan
Once again, President Trump proves that he is no ordinary politician and exposes the nature of the D.C. swamp. Every recent president has promised to move the U.S. embassy from Tel Aviv to Jerusalem as a candidate, only to fail to deliver. But not President Trump! He alone has the guts and the honesty to start to deliver.
This point matters not only to evangelical and Jewish supporters of Israel, but to every American sick and tired of Washington, D.C. politics as usual. It tells us in the most direct possible way that BS walks, and Donald Trump delivers.
— Joel B. Pollak (@joelpollak) December 6, 2017
Trump's speech scheduled today is expected to recognize Jerusalem as Israel's capital, and begin the process of moving the embassy – something that is not simple or quick to accomplish. A site has to be obtained, security issues carefully examined, and a new building designed and built (Trump's area of deep expertise), and large numbers of diplomats and local staff must be prepared to handle the extended protests that will happen and move their own work location.
NeverTrump skeptics warn that today's words are just words, and actions are needed that may or may not happen. After all, Trump, like all his predecessors since 1995, is requesting a waiver from the law passed that year, the Jerusalem Embassy Act, requiring an embassy move to Jerusalem. Fair enough. Time will tell, and if Trump doesn't deliver, his image as a truth-teller, not a mealy-mouthed politician, will suffer even greater damage than his predecessors' images.
But I am reasonably confident that he will deliver. Unlike his predecessors, Trump is breaking away from the fruitless "peace process" negotiations that have led the Palestinians in Abba Eban's famous phrase to "never miss an opportunity to miss an opportunity." Many careers and institutions have been dedicated to the "peace process" despite its utter futility in the face of the Palestinians' goal of destroying Israel. The cluelessness is on vivid display in this article from the Brookings Institution, whining, "Why is Trump undoing decades of US policy on Jerusalem?"
As far as I am concerned, the Middle East "peace process" is to "peace" as "processed cheese" is to "cheese": a fake, cheap imitation that only faintly resembles the real thing. Both melt easily, but that is a positive factor only for the ersatz fromage.
Yes, the Saudis will verbally protest, and there will be street demonstrations there and all over the Middle East (and no doubt elsewhere in the Muslim world, from Indonesia to Londonistan and Dearbornistan). So what? Aside from the need to protect embassies and Americans overseas, it will amount to nothing but typical "Arab Street" calisthenics. The Saudis, who have been the chief financiers of the Palestinians and jihad in general, have turned the corner. President Trump and SecState Tillerson already have executed a masterstroke in using the fracking revolution to achieve what amounts to a coup (see this and this) in Riyadh, with Crown Prince (and de facto King) Mohammed bin Sultan committed to ending support for violent jihad and modernizing his kingdom away from a seventh-century social order.
Caroline Glick, one of the most knowledgeable and passionate advocates for Israel, just examined the new Saudi Peace Plan, and lo and behold:
The Palestinians and their European supporters are up in arms about the content of Mohammed's plan. It reportedly proposes the establishment of limited Palestinian sovereignty over small portions of Judea and Samaria. The Gaza Strip, over which the Palestinians have had full sovereignty since Israel pulled its military forces and civilians out in 2005, would be expanded into the northern Sinai, thus providing economic and territorial viability to the envisioned Palestinian state. While the Palestinians would not receive sovereignty over Jerusalem, they would be able to establish their capital in the Jerusalem suburb of Abu Dis.
So the kabuki will unfold in "the Arab street," but the intransigent Palestinians for the first time are discovering that intransigence makes things worse for them. They will pay a price now. The unspoken message is that if they don't come to the table with a new attitude, things will get even worse. After all, their budget depends on aid, and the Saudis and Gulf allies will be writing smaller checks – and eventually no checks. Starvation tends to change minds on what is acceptable. Right now, a capital in the 'burbs will be denounced as "unacceptable," but after the embassy is under construction in Jerusalem, and the Saudis start cutting some zeroes off those checks to the P.A., something (a suburban capital) will look a lot better than nothing (no money to pay P.A. staff).
President Trump has three more years in this term in which to start to deliver. The whole world will be watching. My guess is that he already has some plans on building a landmark embassy in Jerusalem – under budget and ahead of schedule. That is his distinctive competence, after all.
The current U.S. embassy in Tel Aviv has all the architectural distinction of a suburban office park.
I am betting that Jerusalem will get a suitably dignified and distinctive structure to house our representatives to the Jewish homeland.