Negotiation by terror

HOW dare the PLO have the audacity to believe it can dictate to Israel where its capital should be? More so, does this ragbag, ramshackle assortment of quasi politicians, supporters of terror and haters of all things Israeli (and, by association, probably Jewish, too) think that the solution to its own problems, and the fact that no-one in the Palestinian administration could actually run a future state, is to threaten bloodshed?

The Palestinians themselves still refer to their own administration as the PLO, an organisation with particularly nasty roots and connotations, in the mould of Yasser Arafat, the arch-terrorist himself, who dreamed it up in 1967 when a motley assortment of Arabs suddenly developed a yearning for their ‘homeland’, a place with which many had no connection whatsoever, and with which even fewer have any genuine claim today.

The Palestinians’ perception of negotiation is that their stance is the only one and that Israel is always wrong. Their chief ‘negotiator’ Saeb Erekat’s response to Donald Trump’s historic announcement on Wednesday was: “By recognising Jerusalem as the capital of Israel, the US is pushing the region . . . into the furnace of violence, chaos, extremism and bloodshed.”

Not from Israel. That will come from just two places — the Palestinian areas of the West Bank and the autonomous enclave of Gaza.

A leader column in the Palestinian Authority’s official daily newspaper reacted predictably, exhorting its readers, that if Trump “illegally” recognised Jerusalem as “the occupation state’s capital”, it would be the “opening of the gates of hell in the region, which will spread the terror in it even more than the current situation”.

As Trump stressed this week, his decision was based on the reality of the situation. He and others might describe it as a historic moment, but Israel and the Jewish people’s claim to the holy city as its capital predates by thousands of years Trump, America itself and most of the nations of the world.

Trump’s pronouncement was welcome, but he was only stating the obvious. Israel does not need anyone to recognise Jerusalem as its capital. It and any other country, as we stressed last week, is free to choose its own capital city. The real test, and the one thing that will set Trump apart, is when America’s embassy actually relocates to Jerusalem.

That, however, is unlikely to happen during his presidency if he serves just one term — or indeed as the Americans are wont to say, anytime soon.

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