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December 15, 2017

In-Depth Issues:

Israel Has Become a Major Trade Route for Turkey and Jordan - Herb Keinon (Jerusalem Post)
    25% of Turkey's trade with Gulf countries passes through Haifa Port, Israeli Intelligence Minister Israel Katz told the London-based Arabic news site Elaph on Wednesday.
    Likewise, he said, Turkish Airways is the busiest foreign carrier at Ben-Gurion Airport.
    He noted that 20% of Jordan's exports also go through Haifa Port.

Why We Aren't Seeing a Third Intifada - Anshel Pfeffer (Ha'aretz)
    The memory of thousands of Palestinian deaths in two intifadas and four Gaza conflicts inhibits any mass outpouring of rage onto the streets.
    Plus, Palestinians see on their televisions the desolation in other parts of the Arab world, like Syria and Yemen.
    There may be hundreds of individuals motivated to take a knife or Carl Gustav submachine gun and attack Israelis in the hope of becoming martyrs, but that is not a feeling common to wider swathes of Palestinian society.
    The critical mass of tens of thousands prepared to risk their lives in a desperate uprising doesn't exist.
    Likewise, Israel's policy to continue letting Palestinian workers from the West Bank arrive daily in Israel has created a major incentive for maintaining the calm.
    At least half the families in the West Bank are reliant in some way on the Israeli economy, and they don't want to go back to the intifada reality when Israel imported foreign workers to replace Palestinians.
    For the overwhelming majority of Palestinians, the price of another intifada is simply too high.

Egypt's Top Muslim Clerics Call for Funding Palestinian Uprising - Ramadan Al Sherbini (Gulf News-Dubai)
    Egypt's top Muslim clerics have called on wealthy Arabs and Muslims to offer financial support to a new Palestinian uprising triggered by President Trump's recognition of Jerusalem as Israel's capital.
    The Council of Senior Scholars, an affiliate of Al Azhar, Sunni Islam's center of learning, on Tuesday stated, "Jerusalem is Palestinian, Arab and Islamic."

Hizbullah Sec.-Gen. Nasrallah Leads Masses in "Death to America"  (MEMRI-TV)
    In a mass rally in Beirut on Dec. 11, Hizbullah Secretary-General Hassan Nasrallah said, "The only position that the Islamic nation can take vis-a-vis America can be summed up in the following words: 'Death to America!'" The crowd repeated his cries.
    "Let our slogan, our path, and our agenda be: 'Death to Israel!'"
    "All the Arab and Islamic peoples should repeat this along with the Palestinian people: 'Millions of martyrs march toward Jerusalem!'"

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Recognition of Jerusalem as Israel's Capital Can Serve as a Healthy Reality Check - Amb. Danny Danon (Newsweek)
    When Israel's first prime minister, David Ben-Gurion, declared, "Jerusalem is an inseparable part of Israel and her eternal capital," on Dec. 5, 1949, days after the UN called for the internationalization of Jerusalem, the announcement was met with condemnations from around the world.
    The U.S. even refused to hold any diplomatic meetings in Jerusalem and continued to send official cables to an office of Israel's Foreign Ministry in Tel Aviv.
    Ben-Gurion also put the countries of the region on notice that Israel would not shy away from making the right decisions - even in the face of international pressure.
    The writer is Israel's Ambassador to the UN.

3 Short Videos on the Struggle for Jerusalem in International Diplomacy - Dore Gold (Jerusalem Center for Public Affairs)
    On Sep. 5, 2017, Amb. Dore Gold presented 3,000 years of Jewish history in Jerusalem to the Royal United Services Institute for Defense and Security Studies in London, England's oldest think tank.
    The Evidence that Jerusalem Is Jewish (2 min.)
    The Origins of the Name "Palestine" - Every Synagogue in the World Faces Jerusalem (3 min.)
    Israel Has a Better Legal Title and Will Safeguard the Holy Sites of All Faiths in Jerusalem (2 min.)

Trump Puts Fact Ahead of Fiction in Israel - Jonah Goldberg (Indianapolis Star)
    Before you can debate whether President Trump's announcement that the U.S. will recognize Jerusalem as the capital of Israel was a good move, you must acknowledge one glaring fact: It's true.
    What makes the decision controversial is that everyone had agreed to pretend it wasn't, in order to protect "the peace process."
    That's another term that doesn't quite correspond with reality. There is no peace process.
    Mahmoud Abbas, the Palestinian president, has refused to meet with the Israelis to discuss anything since early in the Obama administration.
    The writer is a fellow at the American Enterprise Institute.

Indonesian Education Minister Apologizes for Textbooks Calling Jerusalem Israel's Capital (Jakarta Post-Indonesia)
    Education and Cultural Minister Muhadjir Effendy has apologized for an error made in sixth-grade social science textbooks, which referred to Jerusalem as the capital of Israel.

University of Michigan Regents Won't Divest; Oppose Israel Sanctions - Martin Slagter (M-Live-Michigan)
    The University of Michigan's Board of Regents on Thursday declined to form a committee to investigate divesting the university's endowment from certain companies alleged to commit human rights violations against Palestinians.
    Six of the eight Board of Regents members signed a joint statement Thursday noting that they strongly opposed any action involving the boycott, divestment or sanction of Israel.

Development of Israel's Leviathan Gas Field is 30 Percent Complete - Maayan Hoffman (Jerusalem Post)
    Currently, the offshore Tamar gas field supplies Israel with 65% of its power needs.
    Opening the larger Leviathan field will put Israel in a position as an energy exporter, said Binyamin A. Zomer, Noble Energy's vice president for regional affairs, which operates the two fields.
    Noble Energy and its Israeli partners are investing $3.75 billion in developing Leviathan off the Haifa coast, which is almost 30% complete.
    The Leviathan production platform is being constructed at a shipyard in Corpus Christi, Texas.

Britain-Israel Trade after Brexit (BICOM-UK)
    A UK government White Paper identified Israel as a trade priority for post-Brexit Britain.
    The number of Israeli companies setting up in the UK in the year after the referendum has increased by 28% - with a 34% increase in the level of investment and a 13% increase in jobs created in the UK.

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News Resources - North America, Europe, and Asia:
  • Saudi Foreign Minister: U.S. "Serious" about Peace Efforts
    "We believe the Trump administration is serious about bringing peace between Israelis and Arabs," Saudi Foreign Minister Adel al-Jubeir told France 24 television on Wednesday. "They were working on ideas and were consulting with all parties, including Saudi Arabia, and they are incorporating the views represented to them by everybody. They have said they would need a little bit of time to put it together to present it."
        Israeli Intelligence Minister Israel Katz told the London-based Arabic news site Elaph on Wednesday, "The Americans are preparing a peace deal. They did not tell us the details. They did not speak about a 'deal of the century.' Rather, they asked what we can accept, and they asked the Palestinians the same thing. And they will offer - as they put it - something creative."  (Reuters)
  • Haley Presents Evidence that Iran Violated UN Resolutions - Nick Wadhams and Kambiz Foroohar
    U.S. Ambassador to the UN Nikki Haley stood amid missile fragments in Washington Thursday to show proof that Iran is supplying Houthi rebels in Yemen with weapons in "absolute and undeniable violations" of UN resolutions. Charts and photographs showed that the weapon fired at the main airport in the Saudi capital Riyadh on Nov. 4 was an Iranian-made Qiam missile. She said Iran is providing weapons in violation of UN embargoes on Iran arms exports.
        "Just imagine if this missile had been launched at Dulles airport or JFK," she said. Haley also showed parts from an attack in July on an oil refinery in Saudi Arabia as further evidence that Iran "is defying the international community, and not just one time. This evidence demonstrates a pattern of behavior....We must speak with one voice exposing the regime for what it is, a threat to peace and security for the entire world."  (Bloomberg)
        See also EU Parliament Calls on Iran to End Ballistic Missile Program - Benjamin Weinthal
    The European Parliament on Wednesday urged Tehran not to engage in nuclear missile-related activity that violates Security Council Resolution 2231, stressing "the security risk posed by Iran's ballistic missile program."  (Jerusalem Post)
  • Study: Anti-Semitism Rampant among Muslim Refugees in Germany
    Anti-Semitism among Muslim refugees is rampant and requires urgent attention, says a new study by the American Jewish Committee's Ramer Institute for German-Jewish Relations in Berlin. The report comes amid a series of virulent anti-Israel and anti-American demonstrations in the German capital denouncing the U.S. recognition of Jerusalem as Israel's capital. Thousands of protesters burned homemade Israeli flags and crowded city subway stations chanting anti-Israel and anti-American slogans.
        Anti-Semitic attitudes and rejection of Israel are widespread among the newcomers, said Deidre Berger, head of the Ramer Institute. "The dimensions of the problem are much larger than expected."  (JTA)
News Resources - Israel and the Mideast:
  • At 30th Anniversary Rally, Hamas Vows to Force U.S. Reversal on Jerusalem - Dov Lieber
    Hamas leader Ismail Haniyeh told a crowd of tens of thousands at a rally in Gaza City on Thursday celebrating the 30th anniversary of the terror group, "There is no such thing as the State of Israel, so it cannot have a capital called Jerusalem. We will work on forcing the American administration to reverse its unjust decision. Our goal is to break the American position. We will bring down the Trump decision once and for all."  (Times of Israel)
        See also Photos: Gazans Celebrate 30 Years of Hamas (Jerusalem Post)
  • IDF: Hamas Must Stop the Rocket Fire from Gaza - Eric Sumner
    IDF Spokesman Brig.-Gen. Ronen Manelis told Army Radio on Thursday that Hamas' "only option is to stop the rocket fire" and restore "complete quiet." "We've seen in the past three and a half years that Hamas, when it wants to, knows how to prevent rocket fire coming from Gaza." Manelis said most, if not all, of the 16 rockets fired at Israel from Gaza in the last week were not launched by Hamas, but rather by smaller terrorist groups such as Islamic Jihad. Nevertheless, the IDF holds Hamas responsible for everything that happens within Gaza and "for anything that comes out of it."
        "Hamas is playing a double game, and it's a game we can't allow. On the one hand, it tries to prevent launches from certain areas, and on the other, it calls for an intifada [uprising] and tries to bring masses of people to protest along the [security] fence."  (Jerusalem Post)
  • Poll: 76% of Israelis Say Trump Administration Is Pro-Israel - Gil Hoffman
    According to a Smith Research poll of Israelis taken on Wednesday for the Jerusalem Post after President Trump's decision to recognize Jerusalem as Israel's capital, 76% said the Trump administration is more pro-Israel, 2% said more pro-Palestinian, and 14% said neutral. (Jerusalem Post)
Global Commentary and Think-Tank Analysis (Best of U.S., UK, and Israel):


  • President Trump's Capital Idea - Editorial
    President Trump's announcement that the U.S. would recognize Jerusalem as Israel's capital is simply a recognition of reality and U.S. law. Pretending that Jerusalem is not Israel's capital is to deny the world as it actually exists, a common fantasy in the Islamic world, but not a fantasy that the U.S. need any longer indulge. Only six months ago, the Senate voted 99 to nothing to move the embassy.
        The move is also smart strategically. Trump has sent exactly the right signal to Palestinian President Abbas: the longer you delay acceding to reality, the more you lose. (Washington Times)
  • On Jerusalem, Trump Reveals Hard Truths about Mideast Peace - Editorial
    President Donald Trump's declaration this week that the U.S. will officially recognize Jerusalem as Israel's capital is good news, partially because it recognizes the long-evident facts on the ground: Jerusalem, the ancient capital of the people of Israel for thousands of years, has been the declared capital of the modern State of Israel for more than half a century.
        The announcement will also be helpful in sending a clear signal to Palestinian leadership that the U.S. will not keep pretending a breakthrough peace deal is just around the corner. Palestinian leaders are too preoccupied with their own internecine battles to focus on the peace process they claim Trump has scuttled. Progress will only be possible when Palestinian leaders become a serious, motivated partner for peace.
        There is no escaping the fundamental truth of the so-called "peace process": Israel has been declaring its readiness to make a deal for decades. It has done so already with Egypt and Jordan, two formerly mortal enemies, and has even in recent years begun working, unofficially but effectively, with Saudi Arabia.
        It is no betrayal of the Palestinians to speak the truth about Jerusalem. On the contrary, it is a necessary step toward actual peace. When the uproar finally dies down, the Palestinians will find themselves right where they've been for decades: alone and abandoned, and living next door to a massively powerful country that holds every advantage, but one nevertheless willing to negotiate peace. Things will only get worse for the Palestinians the longer they wait to take Israel up on that offer. (National Post-Canada)
  • Israel's Eternal Capital Gets Long Overdue Recognition - Jerusalem Mayor Nir Barkat
    Since Jerusalem was reunited 50 years ago, three of the world's major religions - Judaism, Christianity and Islam - have thrived in the city. Today, in one square kilometer, more functioning churches, mosques and synagogues exist in the Old City of Jerusalem than anywhere else in the world. And Jerusalemites have respected freedom of religion, freedom of movement, and freedom of expression for all the city's residents. These values are what distinguish us from our enemies. These are not just Israeli values - they are values that we share with our strongest ally, the United States.
        President Trump's bold decision brings us one step closer to peace. The certainty provided by the official U.S. recognition of Jerusalem as the eternal and indivisible capital of Israel will enhance, not weaken, the peace process. (Jerusalem Post)
  • Trump's Jerusalem Announcement a Rare Strategic Opportunity - Maj.-Gen. (ret.) Amos Yadlin
    President Trump's speech, in which the U.S. recognized Jerusalem as Israel's capital, was a positive move. Not only have we not witnessed an unusual violent outburst in the Middle East, but we are actually seeing a potential to advance a different diplomatic process under different conditions from the ones we have gotten used to.
        Trump's refusal to give in to threats and blackmail - along with the message that the Palestinians have no veto right - is a very important precedent for the continuation of the diplomatic process. Trump's move has the potential of encouraging creative thinking outside the familiar parameters.
        In the final months of its term, the Obama administration allowed the passage of UN Security Council Resolution 2334, which gave the Palestinians a feeling that the parameters most important to them would be determined before the negotiations. As a result, they were in no rush to enter talks. The new U.S. policy could reverse a lot of the damage caused by Resolution 2334.
        Trump's speech demonstrates that an ongoing Palestinian refusal to reach an agreement or a compromise at this time would be interpreted as another missed opportunity by the Palestinians, while Israel keeps growing stronger militarily, economically and diplomatically. The writer, former chief of Israeli military intelligence, heads the Institute for National Security Studies at Tel Aviv University. (Ynet News)
  • Palestinians' "Temple Denial" Is Deeply Offensive to Jews - Dr. Emmanuel Navon
    Jerusalem is commonly designated in Islamic sources as Bayit al-Maqdis, which is the Arabic transliteration of the Hebrew Beit Hamikdash (which means "temple"). A travel guide published by the Supreme Muslim Council in 1924 described the Temple Mount as the ancient site of Solomon's Temple. The Palestinians' "Temple denial" is therefore a new phenomenon that contradicts Muslim tradition. It flies in the face of historical evidence (such as Flavius Josephus' The Jewish War, written in 75 CE), and it is deeply offensive to the Jewish faith.
        The Palestinians' historical denials remain a major obstacle to an agreement on the final status of Jerusalem. Disrespect for other faiths leads to the desecration of their holy places. When east Jerusalem was under Jordanian rule, Jews were denied access to the Western Wall, dozens of synagogues were destroyed, and the Mount of Olives cemetery was desecrated. In the 1990s, the Palestinian Authority vandalized Jewish antiquities underneath the Temple Mount as it built two large mosques there. Only Israeli sovereignty has guaranteed religious freedom and the preservation of the holy places for all. The writer teaches at Tel Aviv University and IDC Herzliya. (Times of Israel)
  • Welcome to the Palestinian Mindset, Where an Arab Leader Who Talks about Peace with Israel Is a Traitor - Khaled Abu Toameh
    A declaration of war on the U.S., in the Palestinians' view, would have been the appropriate response to President Trump's Dec. 6 announcement recognizing Jerusalem as Israel's capital. They were banking on the Arab heads of state taking more drastic measures against the U.S. and the sense of let-down on the Palestinians' part is large as they spoke of the Arab leaders' "weakness" and "cowardice."
        Welcome to the Palestinian mindset, where an Arab leader who talks about peace with Israel is a traitor, while an Arab leader who talks about destroying Israel or launching rockets at it, like Saddam Hussein, is a "hero."
        PA President Mahmoud Abbas said that statements issued by governments were inadequate in the extreme. He stated that the Palestinians were expecting that Arabs and Muslims would throw U.S. ambassadors out of their countries, shut down U.S. embassies, cut off diplomatic relations with the U.S., or boycott U.S. officials and delegations and goods. "We expect a series of measures and steps that would rise to the level of the event," Abbas said. (Gatestone Institute)
  • World Doesn't End after Trump Recognizes Jerusalem - Dr. Mitchell Bard
    After decades of threats intimidated Trump's predecessors and other world leaders to pretend Jerusalem is not Israel's capital, it turned out that even the Palestinians couldn't manage much fury. The demonstrations in Jerusalem were more severe after Israel installed metal detectors at the entrance to the Temple Mount in July.
        While some people may still hate Jews and wish Israel would disappear, most have accepted that after 70 years Israel is here to stay. Apart from Iran and radical Muslim terror groups such as Hamas and Hizbullah, no one is interested in waging war against Israel. For decades now, the Arab states have done little more than pay lip service to the Palestinian cause. They will vote with them at the UN, which costs nothing, but they have grown tired of financing their corrupt leaders.
        Other nations should follow America's example. This will do more for peace because it will disabuse the Palestinians of the delusion that they will get a state along the '67 lines with Jerusalem as their capital. The writer is executive director of the American-Israeli Cooperative Enterprise and director of the Jewish Virtual Library. (Times of Israel)

  • Other Issues

  • Netanyahu: If Iran Is Not Stopped, It Will Have a Nuclear Arsenal of 100 Bombs
    Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu told the Jerusalem Post Diplomatic Conference on Dec. 6: "If Iran continues unabated, they will have a nuclear arsenal of 100 bombs and more. Within a decade they'll have a capacity to enrich uranium on a vast scale and break not to one bomb but to 100 bombs. This has to be stopped. Not merely because Iran calls for the annihilation of Israel, but because Iran wants to conquer the entire Middle East and go even beyond that. It's developing ICBMs to reach any point on earth. It is an aggressive regime, it exports terrorism, it fires missiles into Saudi Arabia, it is seeking a land bridge [to Israel]."
        "Countering Iranian aggression will significantly aid the fight against Islamist terror. 95% of the problems in the region emanate from Iran. Hizbullah wouldn't last a day without the scaffolding provided by Iran. Hamas is dependent on Iran....Terrorists who are not confronted get bolder with time. And the appetite of expansion, Iran's expansion, grows stronger with time."
        "We will not let them establish themselves in Syria. We whatever is necessary to prevent that."  (Prime Minister's Office)
  • Iranian Terror. Argentine Cover Up. Justice at Last? - Mark Dubowitz and Toby Dershowitz
    On July 18, 1994, Hizbullah operative Ibrahim Hussein Berro drove a van filled with 606 pounds of ammonium nitrate fertilizer and fuel oil into the Buenos Aires Jewish community center (AMIA). More than 300 Argentines were wounded and 85 were murdered in the bloodiest terrorist attack in Argentina's history. From 2004 until 2015, prosecutor Alberto Nisman found that the attack was an Iranian-planned operation, and that former president Cristina Fernandez de Kirchner was behind a cover-up designed to whitewash Iran's role. Federal judge Claudio Bonadio last week handed down a 491-page indictment against Kirchner; her foreign minister, Hector Timerman; her intelligence chief; her top legal adviser; two pro-Iran activists; and 10 others.
        On Jan. 18, 2015, the day before Nisman was to testify to the Argentine Congress on Kirchner's role in the cover up, he was found dead, despite the fact that he had a 10-man security detail paid to protect him. Nisman had determined that Iran's former president, Ali Akbar Hashemi Rafsanjani; its minister of intelligence; its foreign minister; the head of Iran's Islamic Revolutionary Guard Corps; the head of the corps' Quds force; the Iranian cultural attache in Argentina; and the third secretary at Iran's Embassy in Buenos Aires were involved in planning the AMIA bombing. Mark Dubowitz is chief executive and Toby Dershowitz is senior vice president at the Foundation for Defense of Democracies. (New York Times)
  • The Chinese Rebuilding of Syria - Dr. Gideon Elazar
    China appears determined to take on a central role in Syria's reconstruction. This summer, China hosted the "First Trade Fair on Syrian Reconstruction Projects," during which officials pledged $2 billion towards the rebuilding. In an interview with a Chinese journalist in March, Syrian President Assad said he strongly supports the study of Chinese and noted that Chinese-Syrian relations are developing rapidly.
        During the Syrian civil war, Beijing blocked decisions at the UN intended to impose sanctions on Syria and dispatched a small number of troops to Syria to provide medical and engineering training for the Syrian army.
        One reason often cited to explain China's support for the Syrian regime is the presence in Syria of 5-10,000 Uighur Muslim jihadists from Xinjiang who are fighting alongside the Syrian opposition. A significant percentage of the Uighurs in Syria arrived with their families, settling in abandoned Shiite and Christian villages on the Turkish-Syrian frontier. Beijing would prefer to eliminate the Uighur Islamists on Syrian ground rather than deal with them back in China.
        The writer is a lecturer at Bar-Ilan University and a postdoctoral fellow at Ben-Gurion University specializing in Asian Studies. (BESA Center for Strategic Studies-Bar-Ilan University)
  • Anti-Israel Activists Subvert the American Studies Association - Jesse M. Fried and Eugene Kontorovich
    Emails unearthed in a federal lawsuit appear to show that the American Studies Association's decision to boycott Israel in 2013 was orchestrated by a small cadre of academics who infiltrated the ASA's leadership to demonize the Jewish state.
        In 2016, four ASA members sued the organization, alleging the boycott violated its bylaws, the District of Columbia Nonprofit Corporation Act, and laws prohibiting nonprofits from exceeding their chartered purposes. Emails appear to show that after joining the ASA's nominating committee in 2010, Jasbir Puar, an associate professor of women's and gender studies at Rutgers University, actively tried to stack the National Council with boycott backers. By the end of Puar's term on the nominating committee in 2013, seven of the ASA's 12 National Council members were public supporters of the anti-Israel BDS movement.
        These revelations show that pressure on campus for a boycott of Israel is unlikely to reflect a vast popular movement. If the ASA case is representative, academic boycotts against Israel are driven by small groups of activists who pursue their pet cause at the expense of colleagues and the good of their organizations. Mr. Fried is a professor at Harvard Law School. Mr. Kontorovich is a professor at Northwestern University Pritzker School of Law. (Wall Street Journal)

  • Weekend Features - A Dozen New Jewish/Israel Book Reviews
    (Jewish Political Studies Review)

  • Robert P. Barnidge, Jr., Self-Determination, Statehood, and the Law of Negotiation: The Case of Palestine by Joseph S. Spoerl
  • Eunice G. Pollack, ed., From Antisemitism to Antizionism: The Past and Present of a Lethal Ideology by Joseph S. Spoerl
  • Yossi Katz, The Land Shall Not Be Sold in Perpetuity by Yisrael Medad
  • Tuvia Tenenbom, The Lies They Tell: A Journey through America by Rivkah Fishman-Duker
  • Jeremiah Unterman, Justice for All: How the Jewish Bible Revolutionized Ethics by Abba Engelberg
  • Moshe Halbertal, Maimonides: Life and Thought by Abba Engelberg
  • Andras Kovacs ed., Communism's Jewish Question: Jewish Issues in Communist Archives by Amnon Lord
  • Albert Londres, The Wandering Jew has Arrived by Edward Alexander
  • Yosef Govrin, Reflections on my Mission as Israel's Ambassador - To Austria, Slovenia and Slovakia by Avigdor Shachan
  • Philippe Val, Hide that Identity Which I Can Not Bear to See by Michelle Mazel
  • Itamar Rabinovich, Yitzhak Rabin: Soldier, Leader, Statesman by Amb. Freddy Eytan
  • Nir T. Boms, Expat-ing Democracy: Dissidents, Technology and Democratic Discourse in the Middle East by Miroslav Zafirov

Saudi Crown Prince Doesn't Want to Talk about Jerusalem - Robert Satloff (Foreign Policy)

  • Last week, I was in Riyadh with 50 supporters and fellows of the Middle East think tank I direct. The morning after Trump's speech on Jerusalem we met with Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman - deputy prime minister, minister of defense, president of the council of economic and development affairs, and favorite son of the king. He is where the buck stops in Saudi Arabia these days.
  • Mohammed bin Salman has a lot to say - about jettisoning entrenched but non-Islamic ideas about separating women and men, about containing Iran now or fighting them later, and about a hundred other topics - but Jerusalem was not one of those topics. If we hadn't asked him directly about Trump's announcement, it may never have come up.
  • He limited himself to a single word of disappointment about the President's decision, and then quickly turned to where Riyadh and Washington could work together to limit the fallout and restore hope to the Israeli-Palestinian peace process. He spoke of the promising future that awaited Saudi-Israeli relations once peace was reached and committed himself to bringing that about. That was the official Saudi view.
  • He could have used the occasion to send a piercing message through us to American leaders about the high costs of recognizing Jerusalem as Israel's capital. He didn't, and that matters a great deal.
  • Those who prophesied that the Arab and Muslim response to recognizing Jerusalem as Israel's capital would be apocalyptic seem to have been totally wrong. Among the Arabs that count - America's allies - the reaction has generally been sober, measured, and mature.

    The writer is executive director of The Washington Institute for Near East Policy.
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