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Tags: embassy | palestinians | white house

Accepting New Jerusalem Paradigm First Step Towards Mideast Peace

Accepting New Jerusalem Paradigm First Step Towards Mideast Peace

Panoramic view of Jerusalem (Farek/Dreamstime)

Micah Halpern By Thursday, 23 August 2018 11:42 AM Current | Bio | Archive

Explaining that it was part of their peace plan for the Mideast — specifically for peace between Israel and Palestinians, in December of 2017 the new U.S. administration recognized Jerusalem as Israel's capital and then proceeded to open its embassy in the new capital.

The Trump White House argued that it was not only the right thing to do, but it was also a wise decision. They explained that a real peace plan must be based on reality and that not recognizing the obvious only stymies any worthwhile peace agreement that might be reached.

Obviously, Israelis were elated by the decision and subsequent embassy opening.

The excitement surrounding the new embassy opening was televised live and watched at home in Israel, and abroad. And just as obviously, the Palestinians were livid. Every step of the process, every moment of air time, every editorial and op-ed fanned their flame of distrust with the United States.

And just as obviously it was clear to any student of foreign policy that one day soon the Palestinians would get their fair share from the Trump administration. In order to make that happen, the peace deal that the Trump administration one day puts forward will be predicated on the fact that Israel compromises on some very serious issues.

As big as the prize of Jerusalem is for Israel, that's how big the compromise Israel will be expected to make to please the Palestinians.

And yet, when President Donald Trump hinted at that expectation of his in a campaign speech delivered in West Virginia earlier this week, Israelis were taken by surprise.

Speaking of the Palestinians the president said, "But they’ll get something very good because it’s their turn next. Let’s see what happens."

Was the U.S. president articulating a shift in policy? No he was not.

President Trump was merely citing a well worn dictate of his famous art of the deal. What exactly that "something very big" will be, we still don't know. It could be that the president and his team still don't even know. But as the president continued to point out, recognizing Jerusalem as Israel's capital city will require Israel to pay a "higher price" for U.S. sponsored peace with the Palestinians.

United States National Security Adviser John Bolton was in Israel when President Trump made his comments at the campaign rally. During the press conference that Bolton held to discuss essential Mideast issues, he was asked about the president's comments.

In response, Bolton clearly emphasized that President Trump's reference to Israel paying a "higher price" in future peace negotiations in return for U.S. recognition of Jerusalem as the country’s capital, did not suggest that there was, as he put it, "an issue of quid pro quo."

One of the reasons it might not be a quid pro quo is because the Palestinians have so far rejected any suggestions made by the U.S. and even refused to meet with the president's negotiating team. To date, Palestinian leadership has responded in unison. They have rejected all moves by President Trump calling them patronizing and insulting.

It's hard to have the quid without the quo.

To make a deal — any deal — both sides have to compromise on significant issues.

Administration after administration in the U.S. has tried valiantly to get Israelis and Palestinians to sit together at the negotiating table. On the few instances they have successfully gotten them there, no administration has successfully kept them at the table.

In line with his leadership style, Donald Trump is coming at it from another, different angle. Previous administrations saw the conflict between Israelis and Palestinians in a very mono-dimensional way.

Israel, they would say, you have what the Palestinians want.

Give them a little and everyone will be happy.

That paradigm failed.

All the heavy work, all the expectations, the asking and the giving fell squarely on the shoulders of Israel. And even when they did give (think Gaza) it failed.

In this new paradigm the Palestinians are forced to see the reality of Jerusalem as the capital of Israel. The Palestinians need to join the conversation.

The Latin expression quid pro quo means something for something. It means, I give you this and you may give me that. It is a system of barter. Another Latin phrase, one that better describes the idea but lacks the alliteration is du ut ses.  It means "I give so that you may give."

In other words, the second compromise is predicated on the first.

Without the first move the second move could not happen.

Right now, neither side is moving. And neither side will budge until the big questions are answered. What will it take to once again, inspire the Palestinians to participate in peace talks with Israelis. And how large an ask will the U.S. require of Israel. So, yes President Trump and John Bolton, there may not be a a quid pro quo but there will, indeed, be a du ut ses. A very big du ut ses.

Micah Halpern is a political and foreign affairs commentator. He founded "The Micah Report" and hosts "Thinking Out Loud with Micah Halpern" a weekly TV program and "My Chopp" a daily radio spot. A dynamic speaker, he specializes in analyzing world events and evaluating their relevance and impact. Follow him on Twitter @MicahHalpern. To read more of this reports — Click Here Now.

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In this new paradigm the Palestinians are forced to see the reality of Jerusalem as the capital of Israel. The Palestinians need to join the conversation.
embassy, palestinians, white house
Thursday, 23 August 2018 11:42 AM
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