NEW YORK (JTA) - When President Donald Trump recognized Jerusalem as the capital of Israel, many foreign affairs experts denounced a blunder.
This initiative was likely to lead to a burst of violence in the city, they said. It would alienate the Palestinians who worship Jerusalem and freeze any hope of a peace process. It would be a last blow to a two-state solution, more and more out of reach.
"To lift this issue from the way it did it does not advance the cause of peace, does not advance the cause of stability in the region, it does not make Israel safer, and that does not make United States safer, "said James Cunningham, former ambassador to Israel who served under presidents George W. Bush and Barack Obama, at the Atlantic Council.
"This gives rise to a significant risk with very little benefit as far as I can judge."
But dissenting voices are heard among specialists who are rather to the right of the political chessboard but join the center.
Trump's recognition of Jerusalem is a correction that is strategically evolving in the direction of American foreign policy. It does not harm prospects for peace, they say, and there is a great chance that it will support them.
"US recognition of Israeli sovereignty over Jerusalem can contribute to peace," said Douglas Feith, under-secretary of defense for President George W. Bush, in Foreign Policy.
She tells the Palestinians, he writes, that "there is a price to pay for perpetuating the conflict: Life goes on, Israelis create new realities and the world in general adapts to these new realities."
Trump's statement showed that the United States would not be intimidated by extremism, wrote Amos Yadlin, head of the Israel Institute of National Security Studies and affiliate of the Zionist Union Party. center left, on Twitter. Resistance to threats of violence is changing the contours of peace negotiations, he added.
"Trump was not intimidated by the threats of Ramallah, Amman or Ankara," Yadlin wrote in a post on Twitter, referring to the Palestinian, Jordanian and Turkish capitals. "The refusal to give in to threats and blackmail, coupled with the message that Palestinians do not have the power to veto, is a very important precedent for the future of the peace process."
Jewish groups, for their part, widely praised this initiative, saying it was a recognition of Jewish historical and religious claims to the city, a long-awaited step, as well as recognition of Jerusalem's status within the contemporary Jewish state as the seat of government. But many also reiterated their support for a two-state solution and urged Trump to affirm its support for this option.
"This is a significant initiative that recognizes the reality: Jerusalem is the political capital of the country and has been the spiritual heart of the Jewish people for millennia," said a statement from the ADL (Anti-Defamation League), who has never deprived himself of criticizing Trump in the past. The statement added that the group now recommended "the rapid progress of the Israeli-Palestinian negotiations leading to a two-state solution".
A week after Trump's announcement, the prospects for peace seem to have dimmed.
Demonstrations took place in Jerusalem and the Palestinian Territories although they were much smaller than expected.
Palestinian negotiator Saeb Erekat called on his people to call for equal rights in Israel rather than a separate state while Palestinian Authority President Mahmoud Abbas said the US no longer has a role to play. to hold in the peace negotiations.
But this does not bother analysts who feel that the United States must present itself as a resolute partner of Israel rather than a fair mediator. Such positioning, some have written, gives the Palestinians responsibility to adapt their demands and show their willingness to sign an agreement.
"The intention is to deter the Palestinians on this notion that the United States is neutral between them and our ally Israel, a democratic, tolerant, free-trade and pro-Western state," noted Shoshanna Bryan, director of the Political Center. Jewish, a conservative group, in the Daily Caller.
"America's support for Palestinian aspirations has not been removed, but it is based on the behavior they will adopt."
But some analysts also warn that responding to an old demand from Israel could create a debt for the Jewish state to Trump if he were to ask for concessions.
"Because Trump is considered very pro-Israeli by the Israeli public, it will be more difficult for Netanyahu to say no to the president's demands for compromise," said Jonathan Rynhold, director of Israel's Argov Center for Studies and of the Jewish people at Bar-Ilan University.
"It was very easy for Bibi to say no to Obama, as there was no price to pay at the national level, but it will not be the case with Trump."