On Wednesday, Donald Trump took a step no previous president had ever dared to consider. He has declared that the United States now officially recognizes the city of Jerusalem as the capital of Israel, and announced plans to move the American embassy from Tel Aviv to the holy city.
The only problem is, the city isn’t just holy to the country of Israel.
While Trump indicated that he wasn’t “taking a position” on any contested land, that’s really a misleading statement, since declaring Jerusalem as the capital of Israel in effect gives the city to the Israelis, a position that essentially declares the debate on who all of the land belongs to over.
Saeb Erekat, the chief Palestinian negotiator in the peace process, was quick to respond, saying that Trump had “destroyed any possibility of peace” and that he was “pushing this region towards chaos [and] violence.”
Mustafa Marghouti, an independent Palestinian politician, told Al-Jazeera that:
“This is not a single act. This US administration that did not speak even once about a two-state solution. This American administration did not say or mention the words ‘Palestinian state’ once. This American administration has failed to exercise any pressure on Israel on the issue of settlements, although Israel has enhanced settlement activities in the occupied territories by no less than 100 percent since President Trump was elected.”
Many expect to see outrage across the Middle East as news of the decision comes in.
The European Union, for their part, insists that their position has not changed, and issued a statement almost immediately declaring that they intended to continue working toward recognizing Jerusalem as the capital of two distinct states — Israel AND Palestine.
Just as he does here at home, Trump seems to be uniting people against him, even some that seem to be unlikely pairings. Both the President of Turkey, Recep Tayyip Erdogan, and King Abdullah II of Jordan warned that ignoring “the Palestinian, Muslim, and Christian rights in Jerusalem will only fuel further extremism and undermine the war against terrorism.”
But the decision does make Trump’s evangelical supporters in America happy. Their desire to hasten the end of days has been a constant source of bafflement for those seeking to understand the strange relationship between the Jewish state and evangelicalism. According to Christian traditions, the Jews will all die in the Apocalypse, as will everyone who doesn’t share their specific beliefs.
No wonder they’re mostly Republicans.
Watch Trump’s announcement here:
Featured image via Chip Somodevilla/Getty Images