Jerusalem is Israel’s capital. President Trump is getting both flack and fanfare for his decision to politically recognize this fact. While the President would no doubt take full credit for this monumental moment and brave action, is there more than meets the eye to the timing of this move? Are there other personalities or circumstances at play? Some would say this is a disaster and pure folly, others would say it was inevitable. Let’s examine all the die that have been cast and see what they add up to.
This reminds one of the Orthodox and Coptic X files. The truth is out there. Jared Kushner’s role as Middle East Peace arbitrator is well known. His actual progress seems invisible. He has a team of bankruptcy lawyers and real estate whizzes, all of which are Orthodox Jews, except for one Coptic Egyptian woman who speaks Arabic. He has made several trips to the region and talked to several important players. The mystery remains, however, what has he actually done? The recent interview by the Brookings Institute Mogul Saban was much ado about nothing. Very little detail was actually given, and the interview seemed more like Jared’s attempt at showcasing his premonition of Trump’s then-impending decision, although nothing was revealed. A little noise was made but nobody can make out the tune. Important? Maybe we will know something more in the future?
Promises, Promises. Campaign promises are being somewhat fulfilled by President Trump. Sort of. The wall? It is being tested. Obamacare? The new tax cut bill should make it obsolete, without a repeal. Jerusalem? We recognize what Congress did in 1995 and so say it out loud and then…sign the waiver for another 6 months. The promises keep coming. One partially fulfilled promise comes with another grander one. Ah, the Donald is plying his trade. After all isn’t the Jerusalem issue and peace in the Middle East just a multifaceted real estate deal? Does Donald really care about this issue or is it politically expedient to change the three-day news cycle to something more, say, HUGE! “We are about to satisfy everyone, I promise you.” No matter his motives or endgame…Jerusalem is front and center. The ramifications are about to be seen.
Arabian Knight meets Tech Titan. That is the best description for the new Saudi heir apparent now calling the shots in the kingdom. One day he announces that the kingdom will recognize a robot (a she-bot) as a citizen. The first nation to do so. The next day a royal perp walk takes places with dozens of who’s who arrested and jailed in a five-star hotel for corruption charges. Yemeni rockets are launched at the Riyadh airport, Lebanese PM Hariri resigns, and a silicon-valley-like new city is proposed on the North Red Sea. Change is coming to the home of Mecca. The shadow of Iranian dominance threatens. The new King will need help defeating the Persian onslaught. Israel is the only real capable ally. Can he overlook Palestinian cries and endorse Israel’s existence?
A Shiite Crescent points toward Jerusalem AND Mecca. The Syrian civil war seems to be nearing an end, and the winner is…Iran. Now that they have a straight path to Israel with military might stretching from Tehran, through Baghdad and Damascus, up to the Golan, what will they do with it? Did they think Israel would roll over? Their juggernaut nuclear deal was clearly a farce and is running its course. The pressure they are creating seems to be creating a consensus against themselves. Does Trump’s declaration help them or hurt them?
Checkmate! King Hussein of Jordan is supposed to be the descendant of Mohammed and the custodian of the Dome of the Rock. He has played the Palestinians, the Israelis, the Russians, and the Americans. Whose team is he really on? His own. But the latest chess move has lessened his options. He must now placate the Palestinians to simply stay in power. The management of the Temple Mount is shifting almost entirely to the Israelis. Hussein is also a competitor to the Saudis and Syrians. He is running out of allies.
Ding Dong Damascus. The Israeli F15’s are knocking. Recently a ring of fire has been lit around Damascus. Every villainous personality seems to assemble there with plans against the Jewish state. Even Russian air cover and ground personnel have not stopped Israel from bombing at will. Assad controls only with Russian and Iranian military might. He is the definition of a puppet dictator. The madness that is Syria with at least a dozen self-interested players all vying for power and real estate is a pure insane asylum. Or is it being planned to appear that way?
The price of Vice President Pence’s forbearance with Trump’s many missteps could be the reason Trump just did what no other President has been willing to do. Trump values loyalty and Pence has punched his ticket. While angry Democrats push for impeachment or any means to get Trump out of office, Pence remains pristine on the sidelines. He backs the President in just the right way and at just the right moments. Trumps best backers are the same Evangelicals that follow Pence. The President may feel like he has to throw the Pence-pack a bone once in awhile.
It’s back to the drawing board for Abbas and the Palestinian Authority. Trump seems to be saying to them, “the more you walk away from decent offers of statehood now, the less you are going to get in the future.” Responding with threats of violence are seen globally as a terrorist temper tantrum and the world is losing its patience. Any Intifada or uprising will get a serious response from the IDF. The UN and the Pope try to placate them, but the rhetoric is old and soft. Russia and the Czech Republic have come out recognizing West Jerusalem as Israel’s capital too. Pretty soon, the Palestinian “will work for food” tactics will run their course. Perhaps the next offer they get will be Trumps take it or leave it deal.
Mossad is everywhere! Hezbollah is trying hard to also be everywhere. They are inflating their chests and flexing their muscles, but they will have to exhale soon. They cannot be strong in Syria, Lebanon and the Golan all at once. Their wish of linking up with Iran with Russian recognition is actually coming true. They are feeling the hype of “it’s now or never”, but cannot take on Israel without coordinating with their superiors. This coordination may be a bridge too far because its partners are also self-interested. With friends like Russia, Syria, and Iran who needs enemies like Israel. Nasrallah’s may get pushed into a fight that he is not able to win.
Why it’s a miracle on Pennsylvania Avenue. The Congress may want to rescind their 1995 offer of moving the embassy. They were just kidding. It was just a move to get re-elected. The Jewish lobby made them do it. Pass the buck to the White House. No sane President would take up the offer. Wait! Trump did what? Rather than panic, they might as well claim the victory and tell Israel “you’re welcome”. Do Jews even celebrate Christmas? Maybe they will this year.
While there are even more particulars that could be explored in answering the question of what’s next for Jerusalem, it seems that a master tapestry is being woven by some higher unseen power. Could it be that the God of Abraham, Isaac, and Jacob is providentially moving men and moments into executing His perfect will? Maybe the Bible is less a fortune cookie and more of an actual programming language for the events of the nations. It declares that,
“Behold, I will make Jerusalem a cup of trembling unto all the people round about, when they shall be in the siege both against Judah and against Jerusalem.
And in that day will I make Jerusalem a burdensome stone for all people: all that burden themselves with it shall be cut in pieces, though all the people of the earth be gathered together against it.” -Zechariah 12:2-3.
The die has truly been cast