Thomas Friedman Is Right about the U.S. Embassy in Jerusalem

I think Thomas Friedman, who is Jewish, is one of the best American journalists. And he usually gets it right about all-things-Israel. Two days ago, he sounded off about U.S. President Trump’s inauguration Monday concerning the removal of the U.S. embassy from Tel Aviv to West Jerusalem. He says Trump was a “sucker” for doing this. He alleges that Trump did not make “the art of the deal”–the title of Trump’s book–but “the art of the give-away.” Friedman concedes that Trump supporters are right, that he kept his presidential campaign promise to do this if he became president. But Friedman claims it was a “stupid” promise. I totally agree to all of this.

Friedman suggested that “Trump should have told Bibi”–the nickname of Israel’s Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu–that he’d move the U.S. embassy to Jerusalem if Bibi would “freeze Jewish settlements in the West Bank.” That way, its remaining land could be the major part of a Palestinian state along with the Gaza Strip. Instead, Trump got nothing in return. Really, he was just playing to mostly the Evangelical contingent of his political base. Most of them are misguided as Christian Zionists.

Palestinians, the U.S., and the international community through the decades have rightly demanded that Israel stop Jewish settlements in the West Bank in order to keep the peace process going. Over the years, the U.N. General Assembly has passed many resolutions to this effect. But Israel has remained intransigent about it, usually looking the other way as Jews created new West Bank settlements and continued to build up existing ones. Only one U.S. president, President George H. W. Bush, once threatened to withhold U.S. foreign aid funds to Israel–which was always a hefty $3 B annually–if it did not stop the settlements. Israel merely stopped them temporarily.

But, as those who read my blog should know, I’m divided on this issue about the West Bank for Palestinians. On the one hand, I believe Israel has been wrong by failing to operate in good faith as a partner in the peace process. On the other hand, I believe the traditional two-state solution–which is a Palestinian state in the West Bank and Gaza Strip–is not a good solution.

Now, I do believe that a two-state solution is the only way to solve this problem. But I think the powers-that-be should explore other two-state solutions, such as mine. (Ha!) Seriously, see my book, Palestine Is Coming: The Revival of Ancient Philistia. It’s in the Bible. And since this book was published, in 1990, events have been moving in the direction of what I claim the Bible predicts. It’s been 70 years, now, that Palestinians have been demanding the West Bank and Gaza Strip for a sovereign, Palestinian state. Yet Palestinians are now farther away from this happening than throughout any time during this 70 years. It’s time to consider another two-state solution. But for me, it’s always been time during these 70 years.

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