The Trump administration has scrambled to contain the remarkably broad international rejection of its new policy toward the divided city of Jerusalem, including from important allies — using threats, assurances and a cold shoulder to try to limit the diplomatic damage.
Trump’s announcement this month that the United States recognizes Jerusalem as Israel’s capital and has initiated the process of relocating the U.S. Embassy there has caused an extraordinary breach with key allies such as Egypt, Jordan, Britain, France and Japan, many of which have characterized the move as shortsighted at best.
Not one major ally or geopolitical leader has pledged to follow the U.S. lead. Many have also spoken in new and starkly critical fashion against Trump’s break with 50 years of diplomatic convention that treats Jerusalem — holy to Jews, Muslims and Christians and claimed as a capital by two peoples — as an open question to be resolved only through negotiations.
At the same time, the worst fears of allies and some U.S. diplomats have not materialized. U.S. embassies were not immediately sacked, nor were American tourists or troops targeted for revenge.
“Overall, the reaction was more muted than we expected,” said one U.S. official, speaking on the condition of anonymity. “It was not zero, but it was muted.”
Trump is more annoyed than surprised, people who have spoken to him said. He has told aides and members of Congress that the decision merely recognizes what is already true in practice, since the Israeli government is headquartered in Jerusalem, and has complained about what he considers narrow thinking and pearl-clutching diplomatic caution.
“Let them vote against us. We’ll save a lot. We don’t care,” Trump said Wednesday, threatening punitive cuts in U.S. aid to the United Nations ahead of a U.N. vote Thursday condemning the action.
The vote of 128 to 9, with 35 abstentions, illustrated the degree to which the Trump administration is going it alone. Egypt, the first Arab nation to make peace with Israel and a keystone in any hope on Trump’s part for a Middle East peace accord, sponsored the original resolution.
Click here to continue reading…
SOURCE: Anne Gearan
The Washington Post