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Embassy move: wake-up call or roadblock to peace?

Posted May 15, 2018 by Mark Anderson Leave a comment

Embassy move: wake-up call or roadblock to peace?

Posted May 15, 2018 by Mark Anderson Leave a comment

An article on the far-right Clarion Project website astonishingly claims that moving the American embassy from Tel Aviv to Jerusalem will help America fight radical Islam. It says the move is “a way to get radical Islamists to accept reality and move on.”[1] But it doesn’t say how it will do so.

The implicit point is that America will broker no peace deal that doesn’t include Israel’s right to Jerusalem as its capital. Similarly, Rabbi Abraham Cooper says, the embassy move “validates 3,500 years of Jewish history.”[2] Jason Greenblatt, a member of President Trump’s Middle East negotiating team, denies the move signals America’s reneging on its commitment to negotiate a peace deal. Rather, he views the move as a precondition to such negotiations.[3]

Needless to say, Palestinians—whether Muslim or Christian—consider any embassy move apart from a just peace settlement an act of betrayal. By it, America has finally abandoned all pretense of neutrality.

The peace process must start by giving Israelis and Palestinians, equally, the dignity they deserve. Instead, moving the embassy has wrenched from the Palestinians’ hands what little dignity America had left them.[4]

What emboldened Trump to do this? The fact that Saudi Arabia and other key Arab states care less about justice for the Palestinians than previously. The Saudis, for example, have found in Israel an ally to help them thwart Iranian expansionism, a primary concern to them. And that means blocking Shia Islamism in Gaza, Iran, Lebanon and everywhere else on earth.[5] But by “the Saudis,” I mean not the Saudi people, but rather their rulers.

Clarion says the embassy move marks the end of the “era of appeasement of radical Islamists.”[6] Apparently, America must show the Islamists who is boss and stop negotiating with/empowering them. But the notion that radical Islamists will now simply accept the reality that Israel and America can impose their will on Palestine seriously underestimates the Islamists. Israel will know no lasting peace until she and America, her primary backer, own their shared injustices against the Palestinians and seek a just peace.

On 9/11, radical Islamists reduced 2 of America’s loftiest towers to rubble. We rightly decry those attacks. Yet Israel has spent all the years since then systematically reducing Palestinian homes to rubble. What makes the one unjust, but not the other?

What would God say to Israel, America and Israel’s other backers today? Just what he said to ancient Israel through the prophet Amos. He commanded “those who oppress the innocent…  and deprive the poor of justice” to “hate evil, love good, and maintain justice in the courts.” He called them to “let justice roll down like a river, and doing right like a never-failing stream!” (Amos 5:12, 15, 24). Seeking justice for both Israel and Palestine isn’t about appeasing Islamists. It’s, first and foremost, about pleasing God.


[1] https://clarionproject.org/why-moving-the-us-embassy-to-jerusalem-helps-the-fight-against-radical-islam/  Accessed May 14, 2018.

[2] http://www.foxnews.com/opinion/2018/05/14/trumps-jerusalem-embassy-move-validates-3500-years-jewish-history.html   Accessed May 15, 2018.

[3] https://clarionproject.org/why-moving-the-us-embassy-to-jerusalem-helps-the-fight-against-radical-islam/  Accessed May 14, 2018.

[4] Palestinian President Mahmoud Abbas rightly likens it to a massive slap across the face. https://www.nytimes.com/2018/01/14/world/middleeast/abbas-palestinians-trump.html  Accessed May 14, 2018.

[5] Gaza’s governing party, Hamas, is of an Islamist Shia bent, as is Iran’s, as well as Lebanon’s leading party (Hezbollah) since this month’s  election.

[6] https://clarionproject.org/why-moving-the-us-embassy-to-jerusalem-helps-the-fight-against-radical-islam/  Accessed May 14, 2018.

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