Palestinians hold national flags Abbas Momani/Getty Images

The EU Must Recognize the Palestinian State

At this point, the best way to encourage Israelis and Palestinians to return to the negotiating table is to work to level the playing field. Because the US clearly won't do that, the EU must take the lead, sending a message that is as forceful as it is necessary, by immediately recognizing the State of Palestine.

MADRID – Once again, US President Donald Trump has taken a unilateral approach to foreign policy – this time, by recognizing Jerusalem as the capital of Israel. And once again, Trump has misinterpreted the realities of the Middle East. Given that his latest move – which effectively blew up more than 70 years of international consensus – could precipitate a rapid deterioration in the region, it is imperative that the European Union step up.

The Trump administration’s Middle East policy rests on a reinvigorated alliance between the United States and Saudi Arabia. Every American president since John F. Kennedy has made his first foreign visit either to Mexico, Canada, or Europe. Not Trump. He made a beeline to Riyadh, where he participated in a summit with 54 Muslim-majority countries and delivered an inflammatory speech vilifying Iran, which he asserted should be shunned by the international community.

After Saudi Arabia, Trump paid a visit to Israel, where he launched another fusillade of anti-Iran rhetoric. Saudi Arabia and Israel do not maintain diplomatic relations, but they are both US allies, and they have a shared opponent in Iran. In November, the head of the Israel Defense Forces, Lieutenant General Gadi Eisenkot, even expressed openness to sharing intelligence with Saudi Arabia to counter Iran. “With President Trump,” Eisenkot told the Saudi publication Elaph, “there is an opportunity to build a new international coalition in the region.”