Trump Wants to Divide Jerusalem into Three
Hayom title: "Will Trump divide
Jerusalem in 3?" Plus, small differences in the text.
article was written and published before early elections were called in Israel.
Caspit in Al-Monitor
has leaked details of the Trump administration's "ultimate deal" to
resolve the Palestinian-Israeli conflict. Citing an anonymous "senior
diplomatic source," he writes that the still-secret Trump plan
a clear partition of Jerusalem into three sections, and "it is not about a
Palestinian capital in Abu-Dis (a Palestinian village in the Jerusalem
governance area) but in significant sections of East Jerusalem." According
to the source, there will be two capitals in Jerusalem: the Israeli capital in
West Jerusalem including control over the Western Wall and Jewish neighborhoods
in the city's eastern sections, and the capital of Palestine in the eastern
section. In addition will be a third region, within the Holy Basin, to be under
"interesting if true" should be one's first response, as prior leaks
that have proved to be inaccurate. But let's suppose that this anonymous senior
diplomatic source knows of what he speaks. Then what?
Any area "under international control" idea curiously harks back to
the 1947 United Nations Partition Plan for Palestine's ill-fated but enduring
notion of Jerusalem as a Corpus separatum. In other words, it's
The idea is also wildly dangerous: imagine placing one of the world's most
sensitive locations under the control of the U.N. General Assembly or the
Quartet on the Middle East. Its inevitable mischief could well set off the next
round of fighting.
The Trump plan wrestles away sovereign areas of Israel and hands them to the
Doing so rewards the Palestinians despite their fulfilling basically none of
their prior commitments dating back to the Oslo Accords of 1993. In other words,
it encourages further Palestinian bad behavior.
Of course, making eastern Jerusalem into "the capital of Palestine"
implies the U.S. government recognizes the state of "Palestine." Trump's
remarks over the past year likely imply he will demand the Government
of Israel recognize it too, setting off a huge debate in Israel.
Presumably, that "Palestine" will include parts of Jerusalem, most of
the West Bank, and all of Gaza. Where the borders should run in the first two
areas will drive one massive argument. A second will follow when the
Palestinians inevitably decide, actually, that "Palestine" includes
all of Israel too.
As Caspit points out, a proposal to divide Israel into three will roil Israeli
politics and harm Netanyahu, who no longer can satisfy both his nationalist base
and the U.S. president.
As in other cases where Donald Trump follows his instincts against the
Republican consensus (imposing tariffs, pulling troops from Syria), the
left-wing of the Democratic party will (very faintly) applaud. This time, so
will the European Union.
In contrast, many of Trump's Israeli and Zionist admirers, including
Evangelicals, will be rudely shocked by his proposal and lash out. Given prior
patterns (again, tariffs and Syria), one can confidently predict what happens
next: Trump responds angrily and doubles down, vaporizing the U.S.-Israel
honeymoon of the past two years. Trump supporters will bitterly divide over this
issue, further weakening the conservative movement and diminishing Trump's
chances at re-election.
Led by Pastor John Hagee (above, meeting Pres. Trump), Christians United
for Israel has over 5 million members. They will not be pleased with
Jerusalem divided three ways.
In brief, if Caspit is correct
about Trump proposing to divide Jerusalem into three, the consequences will be
major and long lasting.