Trump’s Jerusalem embassy Move an Invitation to Terrorism: 9/11 Provoked in part by Israeli Occupation

By Juan Cole | (Informed Comment) | – –

Incoming President Trump has repeatedly pledged to move the US embassy to Jerusalem, and he just proposed the appointment of a Zionist supremacist as ambassador to Israel, who equates American Jews who oppose squatting on Palestinian land in the West Bank as collaborators with the Nazis.

Jerusalem is extremely important and holy (just after Mecca and Medina) to the world’s 1.6 billion Muslims.

One of the three major motivations for Usama Bin Laden and al-Qaeda to attack the United States in 2001 was the Israeli occupation of the Muslim parts of Jerusalem. (The other two were the US sanctions on Iraq in the 1990s that were thought to have killed 500,000 children, and the presence of US troops at Prince Sultan Air Base in Saudi Arabia).

Israeli Prime Minister Ariel Sharon’s provocative demarche on the Aqsa Mosque complex in Jerusalem in 2000 caused Bin Laden to try to move up the date of the planned attacks on New York and Washington, D.C., as ‘punishment’ for Sharon’s implicit threat.

Bin Laden composed a poem for his son’s wedding in Afghanistan in fall of 2001, “The wound of Jerusalem is making me boil. Its suffering is making me burn from within.” Bin Laden was a mass murderer and not a good Muslim, but his rage over Jerusalem is shared by many in the Muslim world.

Muslims ruled Jerusalem nearly 1200 years, much longer than did the monotheistic Jews of the Ezra tradition.

It is foreseeable that a unilateral US recognition of Jerusalem as the Israeli capital, and moving the US embassy there (US embassies are big buildings increasingly built like fortresses, and it will be quite visible) will provoke attacks on the United States by angry Muslims. While the US should not shy away from taking risks on matters of principle, in this case Israel and the US are in the wrong, legally and morally, so that we’re doing something unethical and also risking attacks because of it.

Israelis consider an undivided Jerusalem as their capital, and Trump wants to acquiesce in that view. Unfortunately for the Israelis, their position contradicts international law, and if brought to the International Criminal Court it would certainly result in the conviction of high Israeli officials on charges of genocide.

In the Sykes Picot agreement during WW I, Jerusalem was given to Russia. The Communists under Lenin later pulled out of this deal, and the British got Jerusalem and the Mandate of Palestine. Palestine was a Class A Mandate and the British expected it to become the independent state of Palestine around 1949. When instead massive immigration took place by European Jews fleeing Fascism, civil war broke out in 1947-48. The 500,000 Jewish immigrants expelled 60% percent of the over one million Palestinians from their homes and made these families homeless, stateless refugees ever after. The newly minted Israelis just moved into the Palestinians’ homes and farms, forever confiscating them.

In fall of 1947, the UN General Assembly proposed an extremely unfair division of Palestine, giving massive amounts of territory to the Jews, who owned only 6% of the land. This UNGA plan was only proposal and was never endorsed by the UN Security Council, the only body with authority. The Palestinians and other Arabs rejected the partition as grossly unfair. Although Zionist propagandists say that the Jewish immigrants accepted it, their leadership did no such thing. David Ben Gurion clearly wanted much more land than the UNGA had suggested, and his forces went on to grab extra land. In later years the Israelis would try to annex parts of Egypt and Lebanon, and in 1967 they militarily occupied part of Syria and all of the Palestinian West Bank.

The UN General Assembly did not suggest giving Israel all of Jerusalem, including the Palestinian East of the city, and it didn’t have the authority to make such grants of territory in any case.. Nor did that part of the city become part of Israel in 1948. But the Israelis conquered it along with the rest of the West Bank in 1967. They then annexed all of Jerusalem and part of the West Bank, adding that territory to Israel. Although military occupation of territory during war time is not illegal, annexing territory by military conquest is definitely illegal. It is strictly forbidden in the UN Charter and subsequent treaties and instruments, including the Rome Statute that created the International Criminal Court. Moreover, military occupiers may not radically alter the lifeways of the people they occupy (1907 Hague Agreement, 1949 Geneva Accords). Israel’s occupation of the Palestinians has become illegal because of extensive Apartheid policies.

So, Palestinian East Jerusalem belongs to Israel only in the way that the French city of Nice belonged to Mussolini during WW II (he annexed French territory to Italy by military fiat).

What is curious is that most Americans do not know that Jerusalem was one of three planks in al-Qaeda’s anti-American platform. Even more curious is that the US responded to 9/11 by invading and occupying Iraq, making Muslims even more upset. (Incoming Secretary of Defense Gen. Mike Mattis invaded and destroyed Falluja in 2004; one of the insurgent groups there had modeled itself on Hamas in Palestinian Gaza, and fought US occupation as an analogy to the fight against Israeli occupation). Mattis later frankly admitted that the Israeli occupation of the Palestinian West Bank is a severe security problem for the United States.

Now Trump is planning to ratchet up tensions even further.

The national security elites in Washington and Tel Aviv have dealt with Muslim anger over the impoverishment of the Palestinians and the Israeli threat to the Muslim holy places of Jerusalem by covering up these actions, denying them, obfuscating them, and then crushing any Muslims who dare complain about them.

They call this counter-terrorism policy. And they’ve made it work for them in grabbing power, both in the world and at home, where they argue to us that the terrorism that they are helping provoke means we have to give up the Bill of Rights.


Related video:

Euronews: “Trump picks hardline pro-settlement lawyer as ambassador to Israel”

14 Responses

  1. Basic math, basic economics and the historical constant shifting of power around the globe says that Israel will lose over time and the USA will lose because it picked the “wrong side.”

    While the middle east Muslims are still going through the decolonization process and fighting each other for power, eventually the power structures will be worked out and the Muslim against Muslim conflict will stop. Then the Muslims will focus their anger on Israel and Israel can not win that war over the long term.

    The cost of that war for the USA will be huge and Americans will quickly tire of the war and throw Israel overboard.

    If Israel continues on the path of ethnically cleansing Jerusalem of Muslims and if the temple mount is violated, then Israel will not only be dealing with the Arab and Persian Muslims, but the other billion or so Muslims around the globe.

    The numbers just do not look good for Israel and even threatening the globe with nuclear weapons will backfire on Israel.

    Israel is marching down the path to their own destruction because of total hubris.

    • You keep wanting to see something in Trump that’s not there.
      Remember this?

      link to

      He wanted to storm the al Aqsa Mosque personally. The brutal Netanyahu regime was scared of him and talked him out of visiting Israel.

      That was over a year ago. He hasn’t changed on this. In fact, if there’s one thing that’s consistent about Trump it’s his bigotry. He hates whom he hates. The only Blacks, Latinos, women and Moslems he tolerates are the ones who crawl before him as servants. He has room in his heart for about one such token from each category, so I guess he might have room for the King of Saudi Arabia as long as the King completely betrays the Palestinians.

  2. Another reason bin Laden attacked the twin towers in NYC:

    In October of 2004, in a taped message to the American people, according to the BBC, Osama bin Laden said, “While I was looking at those destroyed towers in Lebanon, it occurred to me to punish the unjust one in a similar manner by destroying towers in the United States so that it would feel some of what we felt and to be deterred from killing our children and women….” Bin Laden, of course, was referring to the summer long shelling of West Beirut during Israel’s 1982 invasion of Lebanon.

  3. If the matter of Jerusalem were brought to the International Criminal court, a rendering of genocide is extremely unlikely. Decisions by international criminal tribunals in Bosnia and Sierra Leone make it clear that a rendering of genocide is a high bar.

    A conviction of ethnic cleansing as a crime against humanity is more likely.

    In any case, Israel has already taken over, annexed and is in control of Jerusalem.

  4. The Palestinian people have nothing left, they have been too patient, and have endured so much for decades. No one can fault them for resorting to extreme violence, armed resistance, and make their anger felt. Who can blame them if they send more rockets? No people on this earth, even Americans will suffer through a military occupation, have their lands stolen, their families killed, be blockaded, and have their children thrown in jails, and not retaliate in any way. The Palestinian’s patience must be wearing thin. Trump is pouring more gas on a smoldering fire, and it will naturally explode.

  5. It seems to me that if the two state solution is really going to be abandoned Palestinians should immediately mount a full press for full Israeli citizenship. One state for all its peoples.

    • The two-state “solution” is physically IMPOSSIBLE now and the Israelis have no idea what to do next.

      Their wish is that all the non-Jews (Muslims, Christians, etc.) just “magically” disappear, but that is NOT going to happen because the non-Jews are NOT physically going anywhere because they have no place to go.

      What country on earth would be willing to take millions of poor people? Certainly NOT the USA which doesn’t want fully vetted Syrians, let alone Palestinians. Heck, Americans don’t even like their fellow citizens that appear to be non-white or non-Christian Certainly not Europe that is straining to deal with the Syrians. Certainly not any of the Arab countries that are already dealing with massive decolonization problems.

      So, you have high-lighted the BIG problem Israel has – the non-Jews are staying, so what does Israel do with them to “keep the lid on?”

      If Israel tries to suppress the non-Jews, they will indeed explode and destroy Israel.

      If Israel tries to integrate the non-Jews, Israel will rapidly become a non-Jewish state where Jewish people are slightly less than a majority.

      The bottom line is Israelis did NOT do any long term thinking when they started the settler project. They thought they could just do like the Americans did – shove the original inhabitants aside and take the land. It was obvious from the start that the old USA “manifest destiny” model would not work, but Israelis had no other plan, so they just kept on, and now are stuck at a dead end with no viable plan.

  6. Herzl was disappointed by the Balfour declaration because it was only “half a loaf”. He was confident that his Zionists would eventually take the “whole loaf”. That process accelerated in 1947 and will not stop until all other nations unite to stop it.

  7. Dear Juan,
    Seriously, I think you must make an effort to speak with Trump on these points as he is apparently being swayed by
    a voice certainly not good for America. Your thoughts.

  8. It is all too horrible. But neither Palestinians nor those of us who work peacefully around the world for Palestinian liberty will stop our work, ever, not until Palestinians are all free. And they will be free.

  9. If moving the embassy to Jerusalem provokes more terrorism then Trump can whip up even more anti-Muslim bigotry and then it will be nearly impossible politically to oppose his Muslim registry. So Trump still wins.

    • It is the logical completion of Osama bin Laden’s campaign. He needed secular democracy utterly discredited to prepare for the restoration of the caliphate. His admirers have done everything possible to provoke White Christians in Europe to vote for fascists. Yet accomplishing it in America is a greater victory.

      Of course it is a Pyrrhic victory, in that they expect the persecution of Moslem populations all over the West to become the recruiting ground for the next wave of jihadis. I do not know whether they really believe these persecuted minorities can overthrow White governments and become the rulers, or whether they expect those populations to be ethnically cleansed thus removing the contagion of contact with the evil West, or finally they expect the jihadis to pour into whatever Middle Eastern country is vulnerable to their main forces. The last is more likely, and is what actually is happening.

      At every step of this process, those extremists are relying on us the citizenry to give in to our own extremists and commit the grossest escalation, because only governments can do those, not disorganized ethnic communities. The choice, and the guilt, is on us.

  10. Just an addition. In 1949 a UN resolution called for the internationalization of Jerusalem and, as far as I know, is still in force. In 1967 after the 6 Day War even LBJ opposed the Israeli annexation of East Jerusalem. As you pointed out, its annexation is a violation of international law and for the US to go along with this would be a repudiation of almost 70 years of US policy. Trump just has no idea of what he is doing in international relations and he is truly a danger to world security, not just US interests.

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