Tel Aviv - Expert: Palestinians Bluffing On Threat Of Violence Over Jerusalem Declaration

Published on: December 4th, 2017 at 02:51 PM
By: Tazpit News Agency

Tel Aviv - Palestinian threats that moving the US embassy to Jerusalem would spark a violent uprising are likely to be a bluff, a veteran Israeli security official said Monday.

Dr. Eran Lerman, former head of foreign policy and international affairs at the National Security Council also told a conference call that the Palestinians’ attempts to “manipulate” would be counterproductive because the Trump administration does not respond well to threats, especially threats with what Lerman called a “toy gun.”

“(Palestinian Authority Chairman Mahmoud) Abbas has already recognized that [Yasser] Arafat’s decision to arm the resistance was a tragic mistake, he’s admitted it openly,’ Lerman said. “I’m not sure there will be a response. The situation on the ground is that of a successful conflict management, and no one either in Ramallah or in Gaza really wants to change that,” Lerman told a conference call organized by The Israel Project.

According to Lerman, if the Trump administration does indeed plan to change the status quo regarding the American Embassy in Tel Aviv, as well as American intent to recognize Jerusalem as Israel’s capital, it would come about in one of two ways.

The first, and less likely scenario in Lerman’s view would be to actually move the embassy – a move that Lerman says would infuriate many key players in both the Arab and wider Islamic world.

The more likely scenario, which Lerman expects to see play out, is an American declaration recognizing Jerusalem as Israel’s historic capital but that includes wording that effectively differentiates Jerusalem’s west side from its east side, which was annexed following the Six Day War. “I think they will avoid that issue by saying something along the lines of “we recognize Israel’s capital IN Jerusalem,” he said.

Speaking about the United States’ role in brokering possible a deal between Israel and the Palestinians, Lerman said that the U.S’ most basic role is to manage the Palestinians’ expectations in order to remain an honest broker in the region.

“For an honest broker to be effective, it needs to be honest,’ he said, ‘Those allowing the Palestinians to think that they can impose a resolution based on their stance which denies any Israeli connection to Jerusalem are misleading them, and it is the honest broker’s jop to tell them that this is unrealistic, and that they must be prepared for serious compromise.”

Lerman said the way in which the Palestinians are trying to achieve independence is “backwards,” and said that it is up to the Americans to change it. “The notion that this is not a negotiation, but an international court trial with Israel on the stand, is something the Trump administration must debunk before we can have any serious deal.’

The call concluded with Lerman being asked what he thinks is the stance of the majority of Israelis regarding Jerusalem as the country’s capital.

“There is no debate anywhere along the political spectrum [within Israel] of whether or not Jerusalem is the capital. Some may support sharing it with the Palestinians, and some may not, but there is no doubt that this is our capital, and we expect the international community to come to the same conclusion.’

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