Question: On December 6, 2017, US President Donald Trump made a statement recognizing Jerusalem as Israel's capital and declaring that his administration will immediately begin the process of building an embassy in Jerusalem. What does Trump's recognition of Jerusalem as Israel's capital mean?

Respondents: Elliott Abrams, Daniel Pipes, Max Singer, Eytan Gilboa, Jonathan Rynhold, Hillel Frisch. Click here for the other responses. Slight changes made to the BESA Center original.


The move of the U.S. embassy to Jerusalem brings on a flood of thoughts. Briefly:

This completes the UN creation of Israel on Nov. 29, 1947. Coincidentally, it came 70 years and 7 days after the UN vote. Also of note, it came 3 days shy of the centenary of British conquest of Jerusalem from the Ottomans.

Three fresh American faces meet with Israeli Prime Minister Binyamin Netanyahu (right).

It effectively recognizes pre-1967 west Jerusalem, not the whole of Jerusalem, as Israel's capital. It also leaves the ugly old consular and passport practices in place.

As a specialist on the Middle East, I hate to admit it, but this step results from fresh faces breaking with a stale past.

The move sends exactly the right to the Palestinians: your continued attempt to eliminate the Jewish state of Israel will cost you.

The Palestinian, Arab, and Muslim obsession with Jerusalem stems not from a religious interest in the city but a desire to control it. Put differently, where Zionists tread, Palestinians follow.

Trump's December 2017 moving the embassy neatly checks and refutes Obama's December 2016 abstaining from U.N. Security Council resolution 2334.

The Arab riot veto must not be allowed to determine U.S. policy.

Denunciations of the move came in fast and hard from the pope, the UN Secretary-General, European leaders, Ankara and Tehran, Islamists, the Left, and Palestinians. Strikingly, however, Arab states were largely mum, for they have much higher priorities to contend with.

Good for Trump ignoring threats of the Arab street rising up; the riot veto must not be allowed to determine policy.

Daniel Pipes (DanielPipes.org, @DanielPipes) is president of the Middle East Forum.