Israel fears Trump will recognize Jerusalem as Palestinian capital

Israel fears the U.S. will recognize Jerusalem as a joint Israel-Palestinian capital in an attempt to jumpstart the diplomatic process. 

By Jack Gold, World Israel News

Israel fears that U.S. President Donald Trump’s peace plan will include a declaration that Jerusalem is the capital of two states – Israel and Palestine – as a concession to the Palestinians in order to get them back to the negotiation table, Ynet reported Sunday.

The Palestinian Authority has rejected the Americans as mediators in the Mideast peace process since December, when Trump announced official U.S. recognition of Jerusalem as Israel’s capital.

If the Republicans are weakened in the midterm elections next month, the report notes, the White house might ramp up pressure for a deal in the hopes of having an achievement to show voters ahead of the 2020 presidential elections.

Should this happen, the report continues, Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu will likely ask the Americans to hold off on the dramatic announcement until after the elections in Israel out of fear that these complications could hinder his reelection chances as well. Israel’s elections are slated for November 2019, and there is talk of holding them sooner.

“Trump wants a deal, and he’s very serious,” a senior Israeli official is quoted as saying in the Ynet report. “For the Americans, the Israeli-Palestinian conflict is relatively easy to solve and is a ripe fruit.”

However, there are influential government officials in Washington who likely will do whatever they can to ensure that such a promise regarding Jerusalem will not be made to the Palestinians. Netanyahu also has considerable influence in the White House, so he may succeed in preventing the declaration of Jerusalem as the capital of a Palestinian state if necessary.

Responding to the report, Minister of Science Ophir Akunis stated that “Jerusalem will never be a joint capital and a Palestinian terror state will not be established under any circumstances. If the Palestinians want to return to the negotiating table, they should do so without any preconditions.”