And Now What? The Trump Administration and the Question of Jerusalem
U.S. policy on the Middle East, in general, and on Palestine, in particular, witnessed a seismic shift in the closing days of 2017: the U.S. president announced his decision to recognize Jerusalem as the capital of Israel, and to move the U.S. embassy there. While it came as a shock, the announcement was not a complete surprise: in fact, this essay argues, the decision is in line with a long history of bias in Israel’s favor, and constitutes the abandonment of the earlier U.S. pretense of impartiality. The Jerusalem decision is part of what has been termed an “outside-in” approach to the conflict, whereby U.S. client states in the region gradually normalize relations with Israel and accept standard Israeli positions, while simultaneously pressuring the Palestinians to make further concessions to Israel. Taking into account the new international environment, and the equally deep shifts in U.S. public opinion, this commentary also explores the possible formulation of a new strategy to advance Palestinian aspirations for liberation and a just peace.