President Trump’s recognition of Jerusalem as Israel’s capital let him boast about his courage but he ignored both international law and U.S. interests in delivering this gift to the Israel Lobby, as Lawrence Davidson explains.
By Lawrence Davidson
It is not easy to write anything new about President Trump’s Dec. 6 announcement that he (and thus supposedly the U.S. as a nation) was recognizing Jerusalem as the capital of Israel. After all, plenty of very smart and attentive people have already commented on this decision. I particularly like those who pointed out that Trump’s move replicated that of Arthur Balfour.
As Balfour had assumed in 1917 that he could promise Palestine to the Zionists, so Trump seems to have assumed he could legitimize Jerusalem as Israeli territory. The connection seems to support the philosopher George Santayana’s observation that those who know no history are bound to repeat it.
As was the case with Balfour, neither Trump nor the U.S. Congress (whose edict the President has so eagerly carried out) has any legal authority to proceed in this fashion. In the case of Trump and the Congress, what should get in their way is international law – which, when represented in signed treaties, is incorporated into U.S. law. The Geneva Conventions are such a case. Part of these conventions (again, now made U.S. law) makes it illegal to conquer territory and then absorb it by moving your own citizens in while ethnically cleansing the original population. One can also cite the 2002 Rome Statute of the International Criminal Court declaring apartheid policies a crime against humanity. This is not U.S. law but reflects international consensus. Israel is in violation of aspects of the Geneva Conventions and the Rome Statute, as well as a host of United Nations resolutions.
Trump, along with the Republicans and Democrats in Congress, seems to be ignorant, or perhaps just callously unconcerned about international law –…