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Wednesday, 19 September 2018

Strategic losses for the US Administration and Israel

The strategic losses that both the US and Israel may suffer as a result of the decision to move the US embassy to Jerusalem should convince Washington to repeal its decision

Mohammed Hegazi , Thursday 21 Dec 2017
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The American decision to transfer its embassy to Jerusalem is an unjust decision and contrary to International Law; it undermines the foundations of peace; it inflames emotions; and it is condemned, unjustified and rejected.

That's how the international community described the American president's decision, and all those descriptions apply to the originator of this dangerous decision.

Just a few days passed before a succession of strategic losses began to emerge on the side of the US and Israel – those who took the decision and the one who instigated it.

The first outcome of this unjust decision was that it once again brought the Palestinian cause to the fore on the regional and international scene.

This occurred after years of wars and struggles in the region, from Syria to Iraq to Libya and Yemen, along with widespread terrorism across the regional map. It follows claims by some that the Palestinian cause has disappeared, no longer occupying the central position it did for decades, being overshadowed by the existing conflicts.

The Palestinian cause – and at its core Jerusalem – have come to the fore once more.

The second strategic loss is the deepening gap in confidence between Europe and the US, with Europe starting to distance itself from the US due to Trump's impulsive policies.

These policies have been built on his 'America First' approach and his antagonism toward even his partners' interests, accusing them of enriching themselves at the expense of his country, accusing Europe and NATO of not meeting their responsibilities, and insisting on extorting them.

A few days ago the German foreign minister gave a speech in which he directed comments at Trump, stating that the US is not behaving as a partner in bearing its international responsibilities.

Among the losses that Israel now endures is this Jerusalemite intifada and its spreading to all cities. Consequently, the confrontation with the occupation forces has returned to the forefront, exposing its existence and its inhuman practices, with its violence and crimes on show once again.
Hence, the ugly face of the Israeli occupation has returned to the main news bulletins, with its scenes revealing the crime of occupation every day.

Another loss is connected to President Trump’s miscalculation of the consequences of his decision, putting American national security at risk – and even that of Israel.

For the previous 17 years, every former US president postponed executing this decision every six months, sending a letter to Congress asking to postpone the pledge of moving the embassy for reasons relating to the protection of American national security.

The next strategic loss will be the US’s loss of its central role in managing the peace process. This role has given it overwhelming influence over the region’s leaders and in the international arena and organisations. Washington was an annual destination for all the region’s leaders.

Through its rash decision, America's role will suffer a big jolt and the world might even strip the US of the advantage of being a peace mediator after it has demonstrated its unprecedented bias toward Israel.

One of the positive outcomes of this period is the resulting Arab consensus, and this is definitely among the losses of Israel and maybe the US. For a long time, the Arabs have lacked a unified stance in criticising the US and its president, along with Israel and its prime minister as the main instigator.

The biggest danger is the possible appearance of new regional mechanisms that are antagonistic toward the American and Israeli positions, aiming to appease the region's neighbours, especially Iran and Turkey, in light of Jerusalem's symbolic role in binding together everything Arab and Islamic.

Mechanisms of communication might be set up, opening a door for dialogue and openness, promoting the policy of good-neighbourliness and thwarting plans for a total confrontation in the region that only serves the US and Israel.

Perhaps committees of Wise Men will be formed and subsequently a degree of regional understanding may materialise, beginning a process of bridging the rift, with those two neighbours who infringe Arab national security ceasing to do so.

This would be a meaningful response, and the harshest and most painful blow to those who have had evil intentions toward Palestine and the Al-Aqsa Mosque.

Among the losses for those who took the Jerusalem decision is that it has sparked a search for a new reference point for the peace process – one that moves away from the US. This includes the search for new international mechanisms, elements and intentions that will change the nature and influence of the American role and its extent, amid regional and international distancing from its irresponsible, narrow-minded and impetuous role.

To conclude, Russian President Vladimir Putin’s visit to Cairo should be added to the strategic losses for the US and Israel, as Russia's role in the region continues to grow. Although the visit is prearranged, its timing cannot be separated from current events. When the Russian bear arrived as a guest in the region and in Cairo, the message was loud and clear in several world capitals.

Washington should re-evaluate its calculations, realise the situation and rescind its decision before it misses the Middle East train.

The writer is the former assistant to the Egypt foreign minister.

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