President Trump’s recognition of Jerusalem as Israel’s official capital and his announcement that he would move the American embassy from Tel Aviv to that city has sparked outrage not only in the Middle East, but also in Europe.
One European leader who has condemned Trump’s announcement is Angela Merkel, the German chancellor. Although you’d expect her to tread extremely carefully when talking about Israel — considering her country’s horrible record regarding the treatment of Jews — nothing could be further from the truth.
“The federal government doesn’t understand this decision because the status of Jerusalem must be negotiated within the framework of the two-state solution,” the Bundeskanzlerin said through her spokesman Steffen Seiber. That is why, she added, the German government does not support Trump’s decision.
Her foreign secretary, Sigmar Gabriel, agrees with Merkel’s position. “I believe that it carries the risk that an already difficult situation in the Middle East and in the conflict between Israel and the Palestinians will escalate even further,” he added to Merkel’s statement. He also complained that Trump’s announcement supposedly ignores the Palestinians’ interests and marks a 180-degree turn from the previous U.S. policy. “And that worries us,” Gabriel said. “We hope that this concern can be taken away, but this turnaround is already a big problem.”
“We all know the far-reaching impact this move would have,” Gabriel added. “Germany’s position on this issue remains unchanged: A solution to the Jerusalem problem can only be found through direct negotiations between both parties. Everything which worsens the crisis is counterproductive.”
Of course, both Merkel and Gabriel forgot to mention that the Palestinians haven’t given “peace a chance” for decades — not even when Israel was willing to make serious concessions when the United States still considered Tel Aviv Israel’s capital. It’s difficult to imagine what more they could do to undermine the peace process than purposefully blowing them up time and again.