Team Trump Steps Through the Looking Glass in the Middle East

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Insights, analysis and must reads from CNN’s Fareed Zakaria and the Global Public Square team, compiled by Global Briefing editor Jason Miks.

The US decision to move its embassy in Israel to Jerusalem on Monday is “a worthy policy initiative in its own right, and should have been done decades ago,” writes Michael Koplow for The Atlantic. But the Trump administration’s spin that it somehow brings peace closer is folly. It didn’t need to be this way.

“Acknowledging the competing claims to Jerusalem would have been a simple and relatively cost-free move that would have dispelled each side’s myth that Jerusalem is a zero-sum game. Had Trump unequivocally declared American recognition of West Jerusalem as Israel’s capital while just as unequivocally declaring that the US looks forward to one day placing its embassy to an independent Palestine in East Jerusalem, then he would have indeed been bringing everyone one step closer to peace while also standing up for Israel’s legitimacy and historic rights.” Koplow says.

Trump is all in with Israel

writes Zev Chafets for Bloomberg View.
“For Israel, America is now the whole ball game, the only foreign power that matters. Under Donald Trump, Washington can be counted on to keep its commitments, veto pesky UN Security Council resolutions, sanction and oppose Iranian aggression and give the [Israel Defense Force] carte blanche in matters of Israeli national security. Never before has any American administration been so supportive.”

Time to make a deal?

The regional strategic winds have shifted. The Palestinians can’t take Arab support for granted anymore, writes James Robbins for USA Today.
“The fact that Hamas is receiving growing support from Tehran further puts them on the wrong side of the equation from the Arab point of view.

“While traditionally many Arab states made peace with the Palestinians a precondition for normalizing relations with Israel, now the process is reversed. The creeping normalization and gradual acceptance of Israel may be what convinces Palestinians that it is time to get serious about making a deal or risk being written out of the equation altogether.”