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Counterproductive, again

Nov 30,2017 - Last updated at Nov 30,2017

US Vice President Mike Pence was recently quoted as having said that President Donald Trump is “actively considering when and how to move the US embassy in Israel to Jerusalem”.

The statement was made in a speech at an event hosted in New York by the Israeli mission to the UN and the World Jewish Congress to celebrate 70 years since the UN voted to establish a Jewish state on part of Palestine. 

Catering, as it did, to the Jewish audience, and in view of the last June White House declaration that the US president was only delaying, not abandoning, his campaign pledge to relocate the US embassy from Tel Aviv to Jerusalem, such talk should come as no surprise.

But when, in the same breath, the vice president says that the US wants a fair solution to the Israeli-Palestinian conflict, without endorsing the two-state solution, one wonders who is trying to deceive who.

This US stance is both perplexing and disappointing. How can Trump expect to solve the Palestinian problem in an equitable manner when his administration shows blatant, unabashed bias in favour of Israel?

What kind of signal is the US administration sending to the Palestinians, to the Arabs and Muslim in general, when avowing that it seriously contemplates relocating the country’s embassy to Jerusalem, an incendiary, hitherto unmentionable statement?

Such talk sends the clear, and alarming, message to the Palestinians that he is abandoning their cause and rights, not even pretending to be fair anymore, in favour of Israel.

One would have expected Trump, who declared that he will make the two parties reach the “ultimate deal”, to reassure the Palestinians, maybe by declaring that he is seriously considering abandoning the counterproductive embassy relocation idea altogether.

Washington might believe that the Arabs are preoccupied with their internecine conflicts and may not care where the US diplomatic mission in Israel is located, but it must sure know that Jerusalem is a red line for Muslims.

A president that has boasted that he is the one to deliver a solution to the Israeli-Palestinian conflict, when all previous US leaders failed, is expected to act in a manner consistent with such intention.

Alas, that does not seem to be the case.

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