Kushner: I Will Fuck Up The Middle East! Trump: HOLD MY BEER!
A bunch of ignorant egomaniacs are about to start widespread rioting in the Middle East? HOORAY! As if Jared Kushner's kosher ham-fisted efforts to rearrange the region weren't dangerous enough, President Donald Trump will decide this week whether to provoke a crisis by declaring his intention to move the US embassy from Tel Aviv to Jerusalem. In his usual toddler-playing-Jenga style, Trump will yank out a block at random and see whether the whole structure comes tumbling down.L'Chayim!
Until 1967, Jerusalem was a divided city. East Jerusalem was controlled by Jordan, and West Jerusalem was Israeli territory. In the Six Day War, Israel conquered East Jerusalem and the West Bank. International law requires countries to return territory captured in war, but Israel has retained East Jerusalem and the West Bank, which remain majority Arab. Because the status of Jerusalem is disputed, foreign embassies are located 40 miles away in Tel Aviv. Relocating the US embassy would "bless" the Israeli seizure of East Jerusalem, and hardliners in both countries have long advocated doing just that.
Can Congress make it worse? YES, IT CAN!
In 1995, the US Congress passed the Jerusalem Embassy Act, recognizing the city as Israel's capital and mandating the US embassy be moved from Tel Aviv to Jerusalem by May 31, 1999. The Act includes a provision allowing the president to postpone the move for a period of six months, and G. W. Bush and Obama each signed 16 such waivers. But that was when our country was governed by rational people who didn't fantasize about starting a war with all the Scary Mooslims. (Did you ever think you'd be looking back on the Bush years as rational? Good Lord!)
"I alone can fix it!"
Because Donald Trump has never read a book in his life (allegedly!) and spends all day live-tweeting Fox News (alleg- ... no wait, that's just reality), he's blissfully ignorant of the inevitable blowback from failing to issue a new waiver. Israelis already control all of Jerusalem, and moving the embassy won't change that. But Palestinians insist that any future state must contain East Jerusalem as its capital, and relocating our embassy would be tacit acknowledgement Palestinians will probably never get their own state.
In 2015-16, in response to increased checkpoints in the West Bank and East Jerusalem, angry Palestinians launched the so-called Knife Intifada, a wave of stabbing and car attacks. Safe to assume the blowback from moving our embassy would be worse -- maybe a lot worse. And it would likely spread to other Arab cities, provoking riots and endangering Americans abroad.
Oy vey! How much damage can Jared do before Mueller takes him down?
What this situation needs is a 36-year-old Orthodox Jewish real estate developer with extensive ties to Benjamin Netanyahu, a history of supporting illegal West Bank settlements, and potential legal liability for directing Michael Flynn to lobby members of the UN Security Council on behalf of Israel. Said no one ever. Nevertheless, Trump has decided his son-in-law is the ideal man to SOLVE THE MIDDLE EAST. Theoretically, Kushner has spent months building trust with both Jewish and Arab stakeholders behind closed doors and is close to a final-status agreement. He's quite sure settling the Israeli-Palestinian conflict will bring peace and prosperity to the entire region. Which would be hilarious, if it weren't so goddamn insulting. And tragic.
Iraq is in chaos, Syria has been in a civil war for years, and Saudi Arabia is fighting a horrible conflict with Yemen. Meanwhile, Kushner's BFF Mohammad bin Salman is furiously grabbing power and cash from his Saudi royal cousins in preparation to ramp up the proxy conflicts with Shiite Iran. "Solving" the Israeli-Palestinian conflict won't change any of that.
So now what?
If we had to guess, we'd say Trump will piss everyone off the way he did with the Iran recertification. He'll sign the waiver on embassy relocation, while making a big show of announcing that the US recognizes Jerusalem as Israel's holy, undivided capital. Palestinians will withdraw from negotiations in protest, Israelis will continue to build West Bank settlements, and tomorrow will be just like today. Foreign Policy envisions a scenario where the Trump Administration telegraphs its intention to move the embassy within the next year and does the hard diplomatic work to prevent Arab backlash.
Of course, the Trump administration could also pursue an embassy move as part of a larger strategy, most likely related to the Israeli-Palestinian peace plan that some of President Trump’s closest advisors are reportedly developing. In this scenario, any official announcement should be preceded by substantial diplomatic engagement both to prepare the ground among regional allies and build support for the proposal being put forward.
We at Wonkette envision no such scenario. Even if they wanted to, these people suck at diplomacy. If they sign the waiver now, they're just kicking the can down the road until they feel Mueller closing in. Then they'll move the embassy in a last ditch effort to curry favor with evangelicals and Jewish Republicans. Which is fine, just fine, exactly how American foreign policy is supposed to work.
So thanks a million, 104th US Congress, for planting this minefield! And thank you Wonkers for not tearing each other apart in the comments section. Is this Breitbart's home for Nazi Porn Addicts? It is not! SO BE NICE.
Liz Dye lives in Baltimore with her wonderful husband and a houseful of teenagers. When she isn't being mad about a thing on the internet, she's hiding in plain sight in the carpool line. She's the one wearing yoga pants glaring at her phone.