I hate ‘I told you so’s’, but…
President Trump’s decision to relocate the American embassy from Tel Aviv to Jerusalem was, in its elemental form, the right one.
No other countries have the right to dictate where any other country sites its embassy in the legal capital of a country.
Jerusalem is the capital of Israel. Granted, the guiding impetus for all things Trump is to do exactly what Obama did not do, or vice versa: but, in this case, this decision was justified.
But, as I said to many calumnies on these pages when Trump first announced his intentions, moving the embassy without securing some meaningful concessions towards a lasting Palestinian-Israeli peace seemed like an opportunity missed.
The rampant violence and chaos that ensued yesterday are somewhat of a validation of this view.
Hamas bears full, complete responsibility for the violence at the Gaza border.
Sending Molotov Cocktail-bearing kites with swastikas adorning them is an aggressive, dangerous act.
Severe fires resulted. In the chaos of a severe fire, terrorists can gather and exploit the chaos for their own greater blood-letting. Israel had a right to react, defend and protect its borders and citizens.
The proximate cause of the violence lies at the feet of Hamas, a rotten, evil force exploiting the people of Gaza.
We had a sick split-screen view of the Embassy opening: all clean, orderly pomp and pictures from Jerusalem on one side of the screen — and the tumult on the other side.
The move to Jerusalem was a courageous move, a move advocated by both parties for over 35 years. Trump did it. In the abstract? Good move. He is capable of those from time to time.
Yet how hard would it have been to exact tough non-violence, policing, intelligence-sharing and other controls with the Palestinian Authority in the West Bank?
How tough would it have been to restrain some of the more controversial and not clear-cut non-Israeli land settlement-building?
The Netanyahu government is a coalition that prides itself on dedication to strength. Indeed, its national security efforts have been effective and needed.
Yet, it has no vision. As for Hamas, a dedicated terrorist organization pledged to destroy Israel, backed by their Iranian pay-masters? Not much hope of negotiation.
The PA could be peeled off from Hamas through deft diplomacy. The U.S. and the Israeli government have no vision.
The United States could have been an honest broker, trying a new administration’s feel for a new peace process effort tied to the embassy relocation. It failed for many reasons, the most critical being that no one is in place, experienced or included to deal with the Arab-Israeli conflict in a meaningful way in this administration.
Violence would have resulted regardless of what was done around the embassy relocation. Yet, one can now concretely ask: would it not have been better to link the move with some long-lasting, positive peace concessions from both sides?
History has largely borne this out.
The writer is a former U.S. Congress aide and U.S. Trade advisor