Move the U.S. embassy to Jerusalem — but only if you want peace in the Middle East

Former Secretary of State John Kerry said moving our Israeli embassy from Tel Aviv to Jerusalem will cause “an absolute explosion in the region.”

Palestinian President Mahmoud Abbas claimed doing so “will destroy the peace process.”

France’s foreign minister, Jean-Marc Ayrault, condemned the idea saying, “One cannot have such a clear-cut, unilateral position.”

Most editorial pages have panned it.

The fact that many are condemning it is exactly why President Donald Trump should keep his campaign promise and follow through on the provocative move.

A view of the U.S. Consulate building complex in West Jerusalem, on Jan. 23, 2017. The U.S. announced that President Trump is beginning the first stages of discussions to move the U.S. Embassy, currently located in Tel Aviv, to Jerusalem. (Jim Hollander, EPA)

But only if the goal is truly a sustained peace where Israeli and Palestinian children can enjoy the violence-free future they deserve.

Simply stated, moving the embassy may fast forward the process of creating peace. More to the point, it could make a final, lasting agreement more — not less — likely.

Put it this way: Our embassy has been in Tel Aviv since the late 1960’s, and how well has that helped the elusive peace process? If keeping the embassy in Tel Aviv is so crucial, then why hasn’t there been a breakthrough in all these years?

Anything that takes that long to achieve its means and fails is not a process, but rather an impediment.

Please, as Albert Einstein said, doing the same thing over and over again yet expecting a different result is the definition of insanity.

And so it goes with peace in the Middle East.

Really, whatever we have been doing for all of these decades, we should now probably try the exact opposite.

But only if the goal truly is a sustained peace.

When it came to winning the Cold War and defeating communism, Ronald Reagan put it bluntly: “My idea of American policy toward the Soviet Union is simple, and some would say simplistic. It is this: We win and they lose.”

Though Reagan’s statement may seem obvious, it is actually profound and deep. What Reagan was saying is: “Hey people, negotiations are great, but with certain kinds of adversaries, you must clearly win.”

Or, as my physician father used to say: “When it comes to cancer, there is no middle ground. Either you destroy the cancer or the cancer destroys you.”

And frankly, when it comes to settling large geopolitical disputes, that has pretty much been the way of the world.

The Roman Empire only enjoyed peace after Augustus soundly defeated Mark (aka Marc) Antony.

And fast forwarding to modern times, the Allies only ended World War II by defeating — with power — Japan and Germany.

Of course, negotiations are preferred to resolve disputes, but if the only language someone speaks or understands is the language of power, then best to display and use power to achieve the desired goal.

And just what again is the desired goal here?

That’s right, a two-state solution, something Israel has been for since its creation in 1948 while some — too many — Palestinians still only seek Israel’s destruction.

Given that dynamic, if you indeed want a lasting two-state solution, then you must first destroy the fantasy, which too many Palestinians hold, of a one-state solution without Jews.

And viewed through this lens, President Trump’s approach of shaking things up by moving the embassy may work wonderfully — but only if the goal is actually achieving a sustained peace in the Middle East. It’s worth a try.

Keep on keeping crazy, Mr. President.

William Choslovsky is a Chicago lawyer.

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