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The terrible cost of Trump's Jerusalem decision

11 0 2
09.12.2017

Donald Trump's formal recognition of Jerusalem as the capital of Israel, reversing some seven decades of American policy, is arguably the most unnecessary decision of his time in office and one that will have consequences lingering far past his tenure. The decision may yield some domestic political advantage among Jewish and evangelical Christian voters for the president, but at irrationally high expense globally.

Jerusalem is where Israel's president presides, and where the parliament, supreme court, and most government ministries are located. In practical terms, it is the capital. However, unlike in nearly every other nation, the United States maintains its formal embassy in another city, Tel Aviv. It keeps a consulate in West Jerusalem and a consular annex in East Jerusalem, the part of the city annexed by Israel in 1967 and expected by many Palestinians to be the capital of their future state. Washington also has an office directly on the Green Line, the division point between Israel and the Palestinian territories.

Diplomats, as well as Israeli officials, understand normally an embassy is the head office located in the capital, and a consulate is a less important branch located elsewhere. But they also know from experience in Israel which door to knock on when they need to get business done, regardless of what the nameplate reads out front.

This kind of thing is not unique to Israel. A similar system in Taiwan has kept the peace there.

In 1979 the United States recognized the reality of the People's Republic of China, with Beijing as its capital, and shifted formal relations from Taiwan. Instead of an embassy in Taipei, the United States established........

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