In response to recent reports emerging that the Trump administration will recognise Jerusalem as the “undivided capital of Israel” tomorrow, the Palestinian leadership should ‘hint’ that such a move will result in the Third Intifada.
In discussing such an escalation, the Palestinians should focus on three talking points:
- Trump’s recent retweet of an anti-Muslim by a far-right anti-Muslim fringe group has inflamed anti-American passions amongst the Muslim Palestinian community (not to mention amongst the larger Muslim Arab community in the Middle East), proving that, in the eyes of the Palestinians, Trump is personally biased against them.
- Recent reports that Jared Kushner, Trump’s son-in-law and Trump’s Middle East peace enjoy, concealed his position as director of a foundation that funded Israeli settlements considered illegal under international law – even while he was attempting to influence foreign nations to vote against an anti-Israeli settlement resolution at the United Nations, in violation of the Logan Act – prove that, in the eyes of the Palestinians, the Trump family has been deceiving the Palestinians vis-a-vis American commitment (at least under the current administration) to being an honest broker in the Israeli-Palestinian negotiations.
- The Palestinians would consider Trump’s announcement of Jerusalem as Israel’s capital a betrayal of American commitments to the Palestinians – particularly to the moderate Palestinians that have thus far tried to keep their people committed to continuing dialogue towards an ‘always-just-around-the-corner-but-never-actually-materialising‘ peace deal – and proof that the peace process is merely a Trojan Horse meant to force the Palestinian leadership to contain the Palestinian people all the while the Israelis (with American assistance/complicity) exploit the situation to create ‘facts-on-the-ground’.
(Ironically, it was Israel’s attempt to create such ‘facts-on-the-ground‘ that caused the Second Intifada.)
In making their pitch, the Palestinians must impress upon the Trump administration that the Third Intifada will be outside of its control because of the passions the Trump family’s apparent anti-Palestinian bias has unleashed, and the extremely emotionally charged issue of Jerusalem.
In fact, if possible (depending upon the progress of negotiations between the PLO and Hamas), the PLO leadership may consider coordinating fiery press release statements from Hamas ‘threatening’ a response to any such move by the Trump administration.
Both Hamas and the PLO will benefit from the release of such statements: Hamas will benefit by continuing to portray itself to the Palestinians as the only reliable faction willing to stand up to the Israelis and their ally the Americans; the PLO will benefit because it can point to itself as the only faction that can prevent Hamas from plunging the area into another violent Intifada (which the PLO will only be able to do if the Trump administration pulls back from its plan of declaring Jerusalem as the capital of Israel, naturally).
If the Palestinians are able to convince the Trump administration not to declare Jerusalem as the capital of Israel, the Palestinian negotiation position is strengthened.
On the other hand, even if the Palestinians are unable to convince the Trump administration not to declare Jerusalem as the capital of Israel, then any (almost certain) protests that emerge throughout the Palestinian territories (and, perhaps, beyond), will be a bargaining chip the Palestinians can utilise in the next round of negotiations (ie. the Palestinians can demand certain concessions in exchange for containing the protests).
Either result benefits the Palestinian negotiating position and forces a ‘jump start’ of a process that has ground to a halt.