Assessments

Jerusalem: A Decision of Regional Consequence

Dec 8, 2017 | 00:12 GMT
The U.S. and Israeli flags mingle in an image projected on the walls of Jerusalem's Old City.

A picture taken on December 6, 2017, shows a giant U.S. flag screened alongside Israel's national flag by the Jerusalem municipality on the walls of the old city. U.S. President Donald Trump recognized the disputed city of Jerusalem as Israel's capital on December 6, 2017, and kicked off the process of relocating the U.S. Embassy there from Tel Aviv. 

(AHMAD GHARABLI/AFP/Getty Images)

Jerusalem is a place where deep belief and international politics collide. As a result of this powerful convergence, it's easy to overestimate the city's influence on regional relations. U.S. President Donald Trump's recent announcement that his administration would recognize Jerusalem as the Israeli capital met with praise, scorn and warnings of impending catastrophe from various corners of the world. Many of the proposal's critics argue that moving the U.S. Embassy to the city from Tel Aviv would cause violence and unrest, while dashing any hope of peace between Israel and the Palestinian Authority. But fears that war and widespread violence would follow the announcement are overblown. Nevertheless, the move will not be free of consequences. Beyond the manifold security implications it entails, the decision will produce unwelcome disruptions for many and opportunities for a few, even if its repercussions fall short of apocalyptic....

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