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MILLER: Trump’s Position On Jerusalem: The Right Thing To Do

By  Abraham H. Miller

President Trump’s bold decision to recognize Jerusalem as the capital of Israel and to move the embassy there from Tel Aviv is both long overdue and a stroke of genius.

For eight decades, the Arabs of what was known as Southern Syria and later transformed into the mythical Palestinians by Yasser Arafat have behaved like Leon Trotsky at Brest-Litovsk.

As the German military moved farther into Russia, the Soviets sent Trotsky to meet the German high command at Brest-Litovsk.

The Germans, being on the offensive and having shown their military superiority while Russia was engaged in revolution, eagerly looked forward to a treaty that would put an end to the eastern front.

Trotsky arrived at Brest-Litovsk with his own soapbox. For days, the Germans sat back and indulged his attempts to harangue the troops with communist propaganda and tolerated his slogan, “No war, no peace.”

After all, how could the Russians not want peace? Germany was occupying large swaths of Russian territory. The infamous Galicia campaign had devastated the Russian army. Russia was in the midst of an internal power struggle. Peace was the only rational choice.

After days of sloganeering, Trotsky left, sticking to his position of “no war, no peace.” The German high command was shocked and dismayed at this irrational behavior.

Observing a power vacuum, the Germans did what any army would do: They marched forward.

The Arabs generally and the Palestinians specifically have behaved irrationally. After the 1967 war, when there was not a single settlement on the West Bank, instead of negotiating, they raised the three no’s of Khartoum: no negotiations, no recognition, and no peace with Israel.

Over the years, Egypt and Jordan have recognized the irrational and dysfunctional outcomes of that policy. The Palestinians have not.

In her letter to President Trump, Senator Dianne Feinstein criticizes his implementation of long-standing but deferred American policy as creating a new Intifada, and she repeats a call for negotiations.

What negotiations? The Palestinians have not and will not accept a state of their own as long as it means recognizing a Jewish state on its borders. They’ve had ample opportunities and generous offers to do so. One need only look at what Ehud Barak was willing to give Yasser Arafat at Camp David, and like Trotsky, he too picked up his soapbox and left.

And Senator Feinstein would do well to recognize that the Intifada has never ceased. It is a near-daily occurrence.

Insanity is repeating the same behaviors and expecting different results.

The Palestinians now will have to deal with what the Russians had to confront after Trotsky left a shocked German high command at Brest-Litovsk.

Palestinian intransigence, violence, and socializing each generation into a cult of death has produced corpses on both sides of the divide but has not gained them a state.

Maybe they finally will recognize that peace is the only option to prevent further erosion of their position. Politics, like nature, abhors a vacuum.

Abraham H. Miller is an emeritus professor of political science, University of Cincinnati, and a distinguished fellow with the news and public policy group Haym Salomon Center. Follow him @salomoncenter.

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