Donald Trump

Is he a suitable mediator for the Middle East?

Israel regards the city of Jerusalem as its capital, just like the state Palestine, which also wants Jerusalem as its own capital. Both ownership claims and the political status of the city are internationally highly contested. Thus, the status of Jerusalem is an important question in the unsolved Middle East conflict. Whereas central Israeli institutions, such as the Seat of the President and the High Court, are situated in Jerusalem, foreign embassies are mostly placed in Tel Aviv. US-President Donald Trump now took an essential political decision, as he plans to relocate the US Embassy from Tel Aviv to Jerusalem, and thus is accepting Jerusalem as Israel’s capital.

Initially, Donald Trump wanted to appear as successful mediator in the Middle East conflict and promised to achieve the “ultimate deal”. But with the recognition of Jerusalem as Israeli capital, the US President loses his position to be a neutral mediator. Trump planned the relocation of the US-Embassy thoroughly, as it was one of his promises during his election campaign. With the implementation of it now, he wants to please certain of his voter groups, especially the evangelicals and the very mighty pro-Israel lobby group in the US. Donald Trump’s staff members are trying – as so often during the last year – to put his recent action into perspective. They are stressing that the US President would still opt for a two-state solution in the Middle East, as Eastern Jerusalem could still become the capital of a Palestinian state. The US-Embassy and other major Israeli government buildings would be located in Western Jerusalem. However, the Palestinians feel betrayed by the US and Trump, and would not regard them as neutral mediators anymore. It is the Islamists, who could benefit most from Trump’s recent action. The radical Islamic group Hamas, whose goal it is to destroy Israel, plans to provoke another Palestinian uprising and this could be the sad beginning of a new spiral of violence.

As can be seen in the past, it is more important for US-President Donald Trump to satisfy his voters in the US and thus to increase his popularity levels, as to think and act in a global way with intuition and diplomatic skills. His actions in trouble spots and the consequences of his behaviour seem to be unimportant for Trump, as well as the long-standing tradition of US foreign policy to find a peaceful solution in the Middle East conflict. Numerous international and European heads of states and governments criticised Trump and his plan to relocate the US-Embassy already, however, he will most likely stick to his decision instead of taking it back. Thus, it will be seen in the near future, which consequences it had to accept Jerusalem as Israeli capital and how the tense situation in the Middle East will develop further.