Israeli flags fly near the Dome of the Rock in the Al-Aqsa mosque compound Thomas Coex/Getty Images

Trump, to Jerusalem and Back

Donald Trump’s decision to recognize Jerusalem as Israel's capital may have been bombastic, but it will not change much. It does not preclude the city’s eventual division into two capitals as part of a peace settlement, much less guarantee Israel sovereignty over all of Jerusalem as its “eternal capital.”

TEL AVIV – US Secretary of State Henry Kissinger famously singled out Israel as a country whose entire foreign policy is actually domestic. Yet the same is true of the United States, particularly when it comes to the Israeli-Palestinian conflict.

All US presidents attempting to resolve that conflict have faced massive – indeed, insurmountable – domestic political obstacles. With his recent decision to recognize Jerusalem as Israel’s capital, Donald Trump has taken this trend to the next level, though the result may well be more of the same stagnation.

Trump’s Jerusalem declaration is the latest manifestation of the unlikely president’s quest for domestic legitimacy, which has made him almost obsessed with fulfilling his extreme and self-defeating campaign promises, including withdrawal from or renegotiation of major international treaties such as the Trans-Pacific Partnership and the Paris climate agreement. Likewise, the Jerusalem decision was meant to appease the messianic dreams of his massive evangelical constituency.

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