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Acercamiento histórico entre Eu y el ala ultra derechista israelí: que se armen los putazos

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Mensaje por ivan_077 Febrero 7th 2017, 00:07

Want a Third Intifada? Go Ahead and Move the U.S. Embassy to Jerusalem

Why Trump’s plan is a terrible idea for Israel, Palestine, and the wider Middle East.

By Hussein Ibish
December 22, 2016

Want a Third Intifada? Go Ahead and Move the U.S. Embassy to Jerusalem

Among the many alarming ways in which President-elect Donald Trump might upend traditional American foreign policy, one of the most immediate and troubling concerns his pledge to move the U.S. Embassy in Israel to Jerusalem. Other successful presidential candidates, most notably Bill Clinton and George W. Bush, made the same promise, only, once inaugurated, to emulate all of their predecessors by invoking the executive waiver to the 1995 congressional mandate to relocate the embassy.

Trump, however, appears less inclined than either of them to back away from the idea. What awaits is a potentially colossal blunder — not just for Palestinians, but for America’s diplomatic reputation and standing, and also for Israel’s national security.

Trump’s persistence in giving the impression that he really does intend to move the embassy once in office seems to be part of a broader shift his administration is preparing to make toward Israel’s extreme right. His ambassador nominee, attorney David Friedman, who has counseled Trump in past bankruptcy proceedings, has a long history of extreme statements on the conflict and views wholly out of sync with both international law and long-standing U.S. policy toward Israel and Palestine. Friedman strongly supports aggressive settlement activity and categorically opposes a two-state solution, although, like most such advocates, he carefully avoids outlining what sort of political arrangement, precisely, he would like to see replace it. This is presumably because this vision constitutes something unspeakable in polite diplomacy — a permanent apartheid system complete with “self-ruling” Palestinian Bantustans in a de facto greater Israel that controls most of the land of the occupied territories without taking responsibility for most of its population. All of Friedman’s public statements express a position of maximal Jewish nationalism (he always uses the word “we” to describe Jewish Israelis), with virtually no concessions to Palestinian human or national rights or international laws or norms of conduct.

This appointment is troubling enough, assuming the Senate confirms Friedman (which it shouldn’t but may well do). Trump may be rewarding a loyal subordinate with a cherished appointment in a manner that plays fast and loose with policy and political realities but that could still be manageable because ambassadors don’t make policy. It’s going to be extremely difficult for Friedman, as U.S. ambassador to Israel, to have a reasonable relationship with anyone other than the Jewish Israeli ultra-right, but as long as he is merely the American representative, the actual policy damage could and should be limited and reversible.

The same cannot be said for the idea of moving the embassy to Jerusalem. Ever since Congress mandated the move in 1995, every president, including those who vowed to relocate the embassy, has invoked an executive waiver holding that it is not in the American national interest at the moment. Since 1947, the international community has, virtually unanimously, regarded Jerusalem as a corpus separatum whose future and precise political status must be determined through negotiations between Israel and the Arabs, particularly the Palestinians.

Because of the unanimous international consensus regarding the status of Jerusalem, no international embassies to Israel are currently located in the city, and almost all are in Tel Aviv. This has always been true of the United States and other major powers, although 24 countries did once have embassies in or near West Jerusalem. However, after Israel’s purported annexation of this occupied territory, in violation, as the U.N. Security Council has repeatedly pointed out, of “the inadmissibility of the acquisition of territory by war,” these missions were eventually all relocated. Should the United States move its embassy from Tel Aviv to Jerusalem, therefore, it would be taking the lead in abrogating an international consensus that has held for almost 70 years.

Not only would Washington be abandoning, and effectively trashing, the international consensus it played a leading role in building and maintaining over decades — as well as effectively discarding the idea that territory can’t be acquired militarily as stipulated by the U.N. charter — the United States would also be abandoning any hope of serving as an honest broker or effective negotiator between Israel and the Palestinians in the foreseeable future. Combined with the appointment of Friedman, it would send a very strong message to the Palestinians that Washington is no longer interested in securing a realistic or viable two-state solution, which has been the bedrock of American policy for decades.

The Palestinian response on the ground is hard to predict. But the potential for an explosion of outrage, and possibly violence, is obviously very great. Jerusalem is the most sensitive issue between Israelis and Palestinians, as the outbreak of the Second Intifada and other repeated instances in which it has served as a uniquely potent flash point have illustrated. Jerusalem brings together religious, nationalistic, symbolic, and ethnic sensibilities in a singularly powerful and dangerous mix. If Palestinians conclude that their future in what they consider to be their capital is being effectively foreclosed by American policy, an outraged, and even violent, response in the form of a spontaneous, or possibly even organized, uprising is extremely plausible — perhaps even inevitable, if not immediately.

For Israel, the benefits of a Jerusalem-based U.S. Embassy would be entirely symbolic, while the costs could be significant and substantial. Not only could the Israelis end up dealing with a new eruption of violence and unrest directly linked to the move; it could severely damage Israel’s regional posture and diplomatic gains with key Arab states. The embassy move would certainly violate the spirit, if not the letter, of Israel’s Washington-brokered peace treaties with Egypt and Jordan, and the reaction of these countries is hard to predict but unlikely to be insignificant. If nothing else, domestic political pressure would virtually guarantee that Cairo and Amman find some way of expressing their extreme discomfort, and broader cooperation with Israel will become far more difficult for both of them.

This applies even more to the Gulf Arab states, such as Saudi Arabia, the United Arab Emirates, and Qatar, which have entered into a cautious, politically sensitive, and positive re-evaluation of their relations with Israel in light of the shared perception of Iran as an overarching regional threat. While Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu and his allies have been exultant about the quiet progress that has been made with these Arab countries because of shared anxiety about Tehran’s agenda, the relocation of the U.S. Embassy to Jerusalem would likely prove a massive complication, if not a complete end, to these developments.

Along with other members of the Organization of Islamic Cooperation, the leading Gulf Arab states would almost certainly feel it necessary to practically demonstrate their objections to the relocation of the U.S. Embassy by finding some means of reasserting Palestinian, and even broader Christian and Muslim, claims on Jerusalem — and the most likely fallout would be a curtailment of security cooperation with Israel on matters concerning Iran’s nefarious activities in the Middle East. Adding such an additional layer of tension between Israel and the Arab states would be an enormous gift to Tehran and its regional alliance.

Moreover, for Palestinian diplomacy, the lesson will be all too clear: Israel preaches the pointlessness of purely symbolic gestures regarding national morale on the Palestinian side but wholeheartedly embraces them when it comes to issues such as Jerusalem. It will be impossible for Israel and America, if the U.S. Embassy is moved to Jerusalem, to successfully lecture the Palestine Liberation Organization about how pointless or quixotic purely symbolic moves at the United Nations and other international organizations and forums might be on the grounds that nominal gains with practical costs are foolish. Both the United States and Israel will have demonstrated that they don’t believe that at all and instead embrace symbolic moves that come at high costs when it suits them. There’s almost no question the Palestinians will take it as a virtual mandate to charge forward in international forms, ratcheting up as many symbolic victories as possible with a similar disregard for the practical consequences.

Israel’s national security establishment almost certainly understands these dangers, and it’s clear that much of it has and will be quietly counseling against any dramatic move to relocate the U.S. Embassy. Some half measures are possible: Building could be initiated on a site intended for a future U.S. Embassy but without much urgency and without actually relocating diplomats. Other gestures, short of a calamitous actual relocation, are also possible, as is the most likely and advisable course: the repetition of what other presidents have done in the past, which is abandon the campaign promise because it is bad for American policy, very dangerous for Israel’s national security, devastating to prospects for peace, and a gift to Iran and other nefarious actors.

Trump may have committed to moving the U.S. Embassy in Israel, but given how flexible he has proved to be on a huge variety of issues throughout his campaign and pre-inaugural interregnum, reversing course shouldn’t be particularly difficult. But it requires that someone first carefully inform him of the real costs at stake. And, sadly, his nominee for ambassador to Israel means there’s one less person inclined, or able, to do just that.

Photo Credit: SAUL LOEB/AFP/Getty Images

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Mensaje por ivan_077 Febrero 7th 2017, 00:08

Moving the U.S. Embassy to Jerusalem Is a Bad Idea for Everyone—Except Israeli Hard-Liners and Their American Friends
by Steven A. Cook
January 30, 2017

The U.S. embassy building is seen in Tel Aviv, Israel (Amir Cohen/Reuters).
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This article was originally published here on on Sunday, January 29, 2017.

When the two most influential leaders in the Arab world, Saudi Arabia’s Mohammed bin Salman and his counterpart from the United Arab Emirates, Mohammed bin Zayed, get together to discuss how Washington can demonstrate its renewed commitment to regional allies, it is a safe bet that moving the U.S. Embassy in Israel from Tel Aviv to Jerusalem is not on their list.

Yet some supporters of the embassy move have made the opposite argument. They argue that after eight years during which Barack Obama is said to have weakened American commitment to its traditional Middle Eastern partners—Egypt, Israel, Jordan, Saudi Arabia, the United Arab Emirates and other Arab Gulf states—the Trump administration can quickly and decisively demonstrate its leadership and steadfast support to its allies by moving the American embassy. It is these kinds of ideas that have ideological appeal but ignore politics, history and reality. They are bound to get the United States (and Israel) in trouble in the Middle East yet again.

In general, the discourse about the Middle East in Washington is overly optimistic about the ability of the United States to shape events and control other actors. Almost 14 years ago, George W. Bush’s invasion of Iraq was supposed to be a “cakewalk” after which Iraqis would welcome the United States as its liberator. It did not work out that way, but that has not staunched the flow of oddly illogical justifications for self-defeating policies. Seizing Iraqi oil, as President Trump declared recently, and moving the American embassy from 71 HaYarkon Street in Tel Aviv to Jerusalem, fit neatly into this category.

The Israeli-Palestinian conflict has been a proving ground for the kind of muddled thinking around the proposed embassy move. During the second intifada, which began in September 2000, either because (depending on where you stand) then-leader of the Likud Party Ariel Sharon visited the Temple Mount (also known as the Haram al-Sharif) or then-president of the Palestinian Authority (PA) Yasser Arafat planned it all along, Americans and Israelis offered up a variety of logically specious claims.

For example, as the dirty little war between the Israel Defense Forces (IDF) and various violent factions of Palestinian terrorist groups spilled more and more blood, Israelis and Americans demanded that Arafat “must do more” to quell the violence. The longtime Palestinian leader was hopeless, hapless and repugnant. His apologists tend to forget that the terrorist organization connected to his own Fatah faction of the Palestinian Liberation Organization was responsible for some of the worst violence of the uprising. Still, it was hard for Arafat or anyone else in the Palestinian leadership to do more as the Israelis were destroying the PA’s police forces. There were some spectacular incidents of PA police violence, but it was not a consistent feature of the conflict. Yet demanding that Arafat do more had an important political benefit for Israel and its supporters in the United States: it delegitimized negotiations with the Palestinians, revived the idea that Israel had no partner for peace, and justified further settlement activity on the occupied West Bank.

More recently, during the 2014 war in the Gaza Strip between Israel and Hamas, Washington-based foreign policy experts determined that support for Arafat’s successor, Mahmoud Abbas, was the best way out of a debilitating pattern in which the IDF invaded Gaza every few years to reestablish Israel’s deterrent. Where had everyone been for the preceding 10 years?

After Arafat’s death in November 2004, Egypt’s director of general intelligence, Omar Suleiman, came to Washington and told the Bush administration and anyone else who would listen that support for Abbas was of paramount importance. If that support was not forthcoming, Suleiman warned, Hamas would prosper politically. This advice largely fell on deaf ears. There seemed to be more interest in assailing Abbas for Palestinian incitement and apparent intransigence (at times well-deserved) than helping him manage an extraordinarily difficult domestic political environment, the logic being that if pressure was brought to bear on the PA, Abbas would demonstrate leadership. It seemed rather that Abbas wanted to avoid an intra-Palestinian fight. When that conflict finally came in June 2007, Abbas’ forces were chased out of Gaza.

The Palestinian president’s weakness, resulting in large part from the challenge Hamas posed, only further reinforced the idea that Israel does not have a partner for peace. All the while, Israelis continued to settle in occupied territory. As an aside, even after the Gaza war, few, if any, in Washington who sagely counseled support for the Palestinian president during the 2014 crisis continued to advocate this policy after the rockets came to a halt and the Israelis withdrew. Rather, with Hamas’ popularity sky-high as a result of the conflict, the demands on Abbas from inside the Beltway grew. When he could not deliver it was proof, once again, that there was no one with whom the Israelis could negotiate.

This is a long way of getting back to that hypothetical meeting between Mohammed bin Salman and Mohammed bin Zayed. In their discussion about regional challenges, the conflict between Israelis and Palestinians is likely to rank low, if it ranks at all. The major Gulf states have bigger problems to worry about, notably the twin challenges of Iran and extremism. This isn’t just true of the Arab Gulf. The Egyptians, traditional players in Israeli-Palestinian diplomacy, are busy with their own economic challenges, and because Hamas is an offshoot of the Muslim Brotherhood in Palestine, the Egyptians have been even tougher on Gaza than the Israelis.

Egyptian President Abdel Fattah al-Sisi’s call for a renewed peace process last summer was designed more to make himself useful to the United States than anything else. Beyond that there is virtually no interest in the Palestinian issue in official circles around the region. And it is precisely because of that lack of interest that advocates of transferring the U.S. Embassy to Jerusalem feel emboldened while offering the seemingly oddest justification for the move.

There may very well be little interest in a peace process, but there does seem to be interest in the location of America’s embassy in Israel. Last Monday, the Saudi cabinet obliquely assailed Trump’s plans for the embassy when it “rejected all attempts to undermine the Palestinians’ right of having full sovereignty over the city of Al-Quds, as the capital of the State of Palestine.” Jordan’s King Abdullah—perhaps Israel’s closest ally in the Middle East and partner of the United States—has called the potential move a “red line” and, along with Abbas, reportedly warned of unspecified consequences should the relocation take place.

One way to sell the move to the Arab world is for the United States to clearly delineate between Jerusalem, where the embassy would be located, and al-Quds, the part of the city where the bulk of the Arab population resides. This is not likely to fly among the Israelis (and Americans) who oppose the idea of two capitals in one city, as well as Arabs who understand full well that Israel is working hard to alter the demographics and geography of Jerusalem to make any distinction between the Jewish and Arab quadrants of the city impossible.

All that said, moving the embassy to Jerusalem is actually the perfect way to shatter the prevailing malaise about the Israeli-Palestinian conflict around the region. It is a move that the Iranians will happily exploit to the fullest, forcing Israel’s partners in the region on the defensive and potentially splitting apart the regional anti-Iran coalition, which needless to say would be bad for both Israel and the United States. It would also undermine Israeli efforts to strengthen ties with Jordan and Egypt as well as develop its surreptitious ties with Arab states in the Gulf.

Then, of course, there is the potential for a third intifada. Observers have been predicting for some time that a new Palestinian uprising is likely. They have been wrong so far, but an embassy move might be an affront of such magnitude that widespread violence returns to the West Bank. If it does, there is no reason to believe that the American-trained Palestinian security forces would hold people back or that Abbas would even order them to do so. Given the likely violent response from Hamas, which has successfully framed the debate in Palestinian society connecting violence and nationalism, Abbas’ best political strategy would be to allow the blood to flow.

It should be clear, then, that despite what its advocates claim, an embassy move is not in anyone’s interest—except, that is, that of Israeli hardliners and their friends in the United States. Rather than demonstrating American resolve and commitment, moving the embassy to Jerusalem actually has the potential to strengthen Iran, weaken Israel’s ties to the Arab world, and sow violence between Palestinians and Israelis. This should all be abundantly clear, but when it comes to U.S. policy in the Middle East, illogical arguments often reign.

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