U.S. President Donald Trump promised to move the U.S. embassy in Israel from Tel Aviv to Jerusalem. But will he go through with it?

U.S. President Donald Trump promised to move the U.S. embassy in Israel from Tel Aviv to Jerusalem. But will he go through with it?
Photo Credit: Evan Vucci/AP file photo/Nov. 9, 2016

Possible U.S. embassy move to Jerusalem called ‘a disastrous error’

If the U.S. were to act on President Donald Trump’s vow to move its embassy in Israel to Jerusalem there would be likely be rioting and increased terrorism, says Canada’s former ambassador to Israel, Jordan and Egypt. Michael Bell says the move would be a “disastrous error.”


Trump advisors ‘don’t know very much about the Middle East’

Bell has had conversations with former advisors to U.S. administrations and found they are “deeply skeptical of the wisdom” of Trump’s advisors on the Middle East.

“In other words, they don’t know very much about the Middle East, they probably don’t care very much about the Middle East except as an idea in terms of Israel’s welfare. And therefore the danger is that they’ll push a president who’s already convinced…as an excuse to push forward” with moving the embassy.

Bell notes that Canada considered moving its embassy from Tel Aviv to Jerusalem in 1979. There was swift reaction from the Arab world. After a six-week tour by a highly-placed emissary, Canada’s prime minister backed down. Bell says it would be best if the United States did the same and backed down now from the promised move or, at least, stalled.

: Former Canadian ambassador Michael Bell says advisors to U.S. President Trump ‘lack any serious knowledge or understanding of the Middle East.’
: Former Canadian ambassador Michael Bell says advisors to U.S. President Trump ‘lack any serious knowledge or understanding of the Middle East.’ © CBC

Visceral attachments to Jerusalem

Jerusalem is home to the Sacred Esplanade which has very deep religious and emotional significance for all Muslims and for Jews too. East Jerusalem is also where Palestinians want their capital to be if the dream of having their own state were ever to materialize.

Israeli security warns of violence

Bell says Israeli security officials have already warned that moving the U.S. embassy to Jerusalem would set off riots and other violence.  Bell agrees. “I think that in the West Bank itself and East Jerusalem you’d have tremendous rioting and probably a rise in terrorism.” He notes that Arab countries might want to temper their reactions to stay on the good side of the new Trump administration, but nonetheless they would have to take the position of being deeply opposed. Reaction on the street would not be restrained.

A spread of terrorism predicted

“The Arab street, the Muslim street, so to speak, will behave in a very volatile manner,” says Bell. “They’ll be rioting. There’ll be probably assassination attempts. There’ll be a spread of terrorism.

“So this move has, in a way, a direct implication not only for the U.S. and Israel and the Arabs, but for the Europeans and the North Americans because it’s going to motivate people. It’s going to make radical jihadists easier to convert and it’s going to motivate them to react against this move by acts of violence and terror in Europe and North America.”

Israel has announced that it will add 2,500 homes to its settlements in the occupied West Bank. The settlements are illegal according to international law. Israel disputes that.
Israel has announced that it will add 2,500 homes to its settlements in the occupied West Bank. The settlements are illegal according to international law. Israel disputes that. © Oded Balilty/AP Photo/file

More illegal settlements announced

Even if the U.S. does not go ahead and move its embassy, Trump’s pro-Israel stand has emboldened Israel to announce that it will expand settlements in the West Bank. The United Nations has called Israeli settlements in occupied Palestinian territories a flagrant violation of international law. Former U.S. President Barack Obama pressured Israel to slow down the building of settlements. But days after the swearing in of Trump, Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu Israel approved a plan to build 2,500 more homes in the West Bank.

Canada not likely to align with U.S. policy

Bell says Canada is unlikely to align its policy on the Middle East with that of the U.S. He says Canada does not want to jeopardize its chances of getting a non-permanent seat on the UN Security Council. Also, Canada’s prime minister is eager to play a bigger role in international affairs and it cannot do so if it is seen to be taking sides.

Categories: International, Politics, Society
Tags: , , ,

Do you want to report an error or a typo? Click here!

@*@ Comments

Leave a Reply

Note: By submitting your comments, you acknowledge that Radio Canada International has the right to reproduce, broadcast and publicize those comments or any part thereof in any manner whatsoever. Radio Canada International does not endorse any of the views posted. Your comments will be pre-moderated and published if they meet Netiquette guidelines.

When you express your personal opinion in an online forum, you must be as courteous as if you were speaking with someone face-to-face. Insults and personal attacks will not be tolerated. To disagree with an opinion, an idea or an event is one thing, but to show disrespect for other people is quite another. Great minds don’t always think alike—and that’s precisely what makes online dialogue so interesting and valuable.

Netiquette is the set of rules of conduct governing how you should behave when communicating via the Internet. Before you post a message to a blog or forum, it’s important to read and understand these rules. Otherwise, you may be banned from posting.

  1. RCInet.ca’s online forums are not anonymous. Users must register, and give their full name and place of residence, which are displayed alongside each of their comments. RCInet.ca reserves the right not to publish comments if there is any doubt as to the identity of their author.
  2. Assuming the identity of another person with intent to mislead or cause harm is a serious infraction that may result in the offender being banned.
  3. RCInet.ca’s online forums are open to everyone, without regard to age, ethnic origin, religion, gender or sexual orientation.
  4. Comments that are defamatory, hateful, racist, xenophobic, sexist, or that disparage an ethnic origin, religious affiliation or age group will not be published.
  5. In online speak, writing in ALL CAPS is considered yelling, and may be interpreted as aggressive behaviour, which is unpleasant for the people reading. Any message containing one or more words in all caps (except for initialisms and acronyms) will be rejected, as will any message containing one or more words in bold, italic or underlined characters.
  6. Use of vulgar, obscene or objectionable language is prohibited. Forums are public places and your comments could offend some users. People who use inappropriate language will be banned.
  7. Mutual respect is essential among users. Insulting, threatening or harassing another user is prohibited. You can express your disagreement with an idea without attacking anyone.
  8. Exchanging arguments and opposing views is a key component of healthy debate, but it should not turn into a dialogue or private discussion between two users who address each other without regard for the other participants. Messages of this type will not be posted.
  9. Radio Canada International publishes contents in five languages. The language used in the forums has to be the same as the contents we publish or in one of the two official languages, English or French. The usage of other languages, with the exception of some words, is forbidden. Messages that are off-topic will not be published.
  10. Making repetitive posts disrupts the flow of discussions and will not be tolerated.
  11. Adding images or any other type of file to comments is forbidden. Including hyperlinks to other websites is allowed, as long as they comply with netiquette. Radio Canada International  is in no way responsible for the content of such sites, however.
  12. Copying and pasting text written by someone else, even if you credit the author, is unacceptable if that text makes up the majority of your comment.
  13. Posting any type of advertising or call to action, in any form, to Radio Canada International  forums is prohibited.
  14. All comments and other types of content are moderated before publication. Radio Canada International  reserves the right to refuse any comment for publication.
  15. Radio Canada International  reserves the right to close a forum at any time, without notice.
  16. Radio Canada International  reserves the right to amend this code of conduct (netiquette) at any time, without notice.
  17. By participating in its online forums, you allow Radio Canada International to publish your comments on the web for an indefinite time. This also implies that these messages will be indexed by Internet search engines.
  18. Radio Canada International has no obligation to remove your messages from the web if one day you request it. We invite you to carefully consider your comments and the consequences of their posting.

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *