President Donald Trump’s decision to move the U.S. embassy to Jerusalem hasn’t lead to the violence predicted by many in the media, according to a Saturday report in The New York Times.
While editorial boards and cable news talking heads blasted the supposed reckless decision (even a Times editorial published right before the president’s announcement said the move would raise “new tension in the region” and could incite “violence”), instead a “mood of hopeless resignation” overshadows the Palestinians.
“With residents neither basking in seasonal cheer nor raging in the throes of a new intifada, the popular mood in the city was more one of hopeless resignation,” the article reads.
There are still some smaller protests on the streets of Gaza, but the general peace of the region directly contradicts the apocalyptic fears espoused by so many in the days following Trump’s executive order.
“Yet, despite the dire predictions of major turmoil, and the best efforts of both Fatah and Hamas to mobilize the masses, so far there has been no large-scale, spontaneous outburst of violence in the wake of the president’s declaration,” The Times writes.
One of the reasons behind the embassy move, according to Trump, was to communicate to the Palestinians that threats of violence over any policy change will no longer deter U.S. interests in the region. According to one individual interviewed by The Times, the Palestinians might be learning this lesson:
The response has been more of a part-time simulation of an uprising, almost by appointment. A few thousand protesters have turned out at familiar friction points in the West Bank or along the Gaza border on the designated “Days of Rage” called for by the political factions. Other days, hardly anybody has shown up.
“It’s not that people don’t want to stand up for their rights,” said Samar Salah, 25, a Muslim student from a nearby village who had come to Bethlehem with her friends to see the Christmas decorations. “But there are never any results …”
Further, as the Times notes, “many Palestinians now view the confrontations with Israeli soldiers as pointless since they consider the Jerusalem declaration unlikely to be reversed.” While many in the media treat the average Palestinian as unstable, the article notes that many in the region “seem to have more immediate concerns than throwing stones at Israeli soldiers.”
Although it may seem counterintuitive, Trump’s devotion to projecting America’s power might actually have a calming effect on the Middle East — particularly with regards to the Israeli-Palestinian conflict. Unlike previous administrations, the president’s unwillingness to allow Palestinian threats of violence to deter the US from recognizing “reality” has caused some Palestinians to realize that “not one intifada has made a difference,” as Palestinian activist Abu Akker told The Times.
As President Ronald Reagan once said, the United States should “maintain … peace through our strength” for “weakness only invites aggression.”
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