US plans to recognize Jerusalem as Israel's capital


    Comment by S.R.H. Hashmi

    What's at stake if the US recognizes Jerusalem as Israel's capital, and moves its embassy there is the credibility of declining super power America, not only in the Muslim world but also in the European capitals which have warned it against such a thoughtless and harmful move.

    And what is more, it will finish off even the sudden burst of goodwill which is seen among Saudi Arabia and its allies towards US and Israel because after such a harmful step, it would become very difficult for them to justify continued relations with them.

    In order to justify the much-talked-about alliance between rising Saudi Crown Prince MBS, his allies, and the US and Israel, it is being claimed that the package against Iran also has as an objective the establishment of a Palestinian state on pre-1967 borders, with Israelis vacating the illegal settlements on payment of compensation and on provision of alternate housing to them in Israel proper. In these circumstances, giving Jerusalem to Israel on a plate by the Trump administration will expose the lie being spread around regarding the establishment of a viable Palestinian state and could even badly tarnish the image of, and even put at risk, those Arab leaders who are presently working actively for an Israeli-Arab-US alliance.

    And if Trump thinks that this rash act will make him very popular among Israelis who will remain indebted to him for the rest of their lives, he is mistaken. And this because Israelis will not take it not as a favour to them, but rather as their absolute right, and will make yet more demands on Trump, and will criticize him for not doing all that he was supposed to do. We know that Barak Obama did so much for Israelis but Benjamin Netanyahu openly canvassed for Obama's rival for the second term election. Israeli leaders even contemptuously rejected his pleas to 'to agree to a freeze on Israeli settlements (at least for the duration of peace talks) for our sake' so that the peace process could be started in Palestine. Rather than agreeing to this very reasonable request, the Israelis felt incensed over it.

    Normally, friendships and relations between people/states are based on mutual consideration, give-and-take. However, Israel's relations with others are peculiar in that they are based on take-take-take and no-give. I give below examples to prove my point:

    A young American girl Rachel Corrie stood in front of a Palestinian's house in the territory illegally occupied by Israel, in clear view of the bulldozer operator who had come to demolish the house to make way for Israeli settlers. The noble girl had hoped that her gesture might save the Palestinian's home on the land which rightly belonged to him and on which he had lived for generations. However, the bulldozer operator went ahead with the demolition and killed her in the process. Surely, the Israeli police present on the occasion could have arrested her, gone ahead with the demolition and released her later. But they rather made the occasion a lesson for others in order to deter them from coming to the help of Palestinians.

    During Arab-Israeli war, an unarmed US research vessel USS Liberty was in the vicinity, prominently displaying the US flag. Some Israeli jets even made low-level flights over it to confirm its identity and of course they would have been in no doubt about the nationality of sailors on it. And yet Israel launched a fierce, combined air/sea assault on the vehicle that killed 34 American sailors and wounded another 171, while extensively damaging the vessel, just short of sinking it. If the Israelis did not like its presence there, they could have fired warning shots and forced it to move away, instead of committing this needless brutality. Again, the US government which does react ferociously to such incidents remained muted on this killing since protesting strongly about it would have upset the AIPAC and other pro-Israel lobbies which rule the US through their puppets installed in the White House and other important institutions. And the US government hushed up the matter after payment of a nominal compensation by the Israeli government. I am sure US aid to Israel would have been sufficiently enhanced to make sure that the burden of this extra payment did not fall on the Israeli government budget.

    Coming back to the matter of recognition by the US of Jerusalem as Israel's capital, it will not even make Israeli leaders feel obliged to the US government and would rather encourage them to demand yet more from the US leaders and the fact such acts would damage the US image abroad would be of no concern to them. As it is, a US General is on record for saying words to the effect that the US policy in respect of Israel creates problems for them in the Muslim world.

    And concluding the comment, I would say that while excessive favours to Israel by US leaders may bring some personal benefits to them, such philanthropy costs a great deal to the the US sate and its citizens, and not just in monetary terms.