Daniel Pipes is director of the Middle East Forum and
a prize-winning columnist. Domestically, he appears
in the New York Sun and the Philadelphia Evening
Bulletin. Abroad, he appears in Israel’s Jerusalem
Post, Italy’s L’Opinione, Spain’s La Razón, the
Australian, and Canada’s Globe and Mail.

The Wall Street Journal calls Mr. Pipes “an
authoritative commentator on the Middle East.” CBS
Sunday Morning says he was “years ahead of the
curve in identifying the threat of radical Islam.”
“Unnoticed by most Westerners,” he wrote for
example in 1995, “war has been unilaterally declared
on Europe and the United States.” The Boston
Globe states that “If Pipes's admonitions had been
heeded, there might never have been a 9/11.”
Daniel Pipes
Middle East Expert
Daniel Pipes
The US-Israel
Honeymoon May Not Last
by Daniel Pipes
Washington Times
February 6, 2018

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Copyright © 2018  Barry M. Baker  
President Trump has taken two unprecedented
steps highly favorable to Israel: recognizing
Jerusalem as its capital and cutting funds to the
United Nations Relief and Works Agency (UNRWA),
an organization ultimately devoted to eliminating the
Jewish state. These long-overdue actions break
antique log-jams dating back nearly 70 years and
offer fresh opportunities to resolve the
Palestinian-Israeli conflict. Bravo to Trump for
enduring the slings and arrows of conventional
thinking to take these courageous steps and then
stick with them.

That said, there's a problem. Both moves were
undertaken for what appear to be the wrong
reasons. This is not an abstract worry but implies
that today's celebration could turn into tomorrow's

First problem for Israel: Trump says he recognized
Jerusalem as Israel's capital to settle the Jerusalem
issue. Listen to him ruminate on this: "The hardest
subject [that Israeli and Palestinian negotiators] had
to talk about was Jerusalem. We took Jerusalem off
the table, so we don't have to talk about it
anymore. They never got past Jerusalem."

This suggests Trump thinks recognition solved the
knotty Jerusalem issue, as though this were a New
York real-estate transaction and he made a
side-deal about zoning regulations or union
representation. But it's not. Far from being "off the
table," Trump's action made Jerusalem an
unprecedented center of attention and contention.

If not for Amb. Nikki Haley's veto, the U.N. Security
Council would unanimously have condemned
Jerusalem recognition.

For example, members of the Organization of
Islamic Cooperation overwhelmingly condemned his
step, as did members of both the U.N. Security
Council and the General Assembly. In addition,
recognition caused Palestinian violence against
Israelis to triple. Thus, Trump made Jerusalem a
more disputed issue than it had been previously.
How will Trump react when he eventually realizes
that Jerusalem remains very much "on the table"
and that his grand gesture had the opposite effect
from what he intended? My prediction: with a
frustration and fury that could sour him on the
Jerusalem recognition and on Israel; it could even
prompt this temperamental and spontaneous figure
to rescind the recognition.

Second problem: Trump intends to exact an
unspecified price from Israel for the recognition,
stating "Israel will pay for that" and it "would have
had to pay more." For the moment, with the
Palestinian Authority (PA) boycotting American
mediation and personally insulting Trump, that price
is in abeyance. But the American door is
permanently open to Palestinians and when they
wise up, some fabulous gift awaits them in the
White House. (This dynamic of extracting quid pro
quos from Israel explains why I generally prefer
low-simmering tensions between Washington and

Third problem: Trump did not withhold $65 million
from UNRWA out of a scheduled $125 million
tranche to punish an execrable organization for its
record since 1949 of inciting Palestinians against
Israel, encouraging violence against Jews, engaging
in corruption, and expanding (rather than reducing)
the refugee population. Rather, he withheld the
money to pressure the PA to restart negotiations
with Israel. As Trump tweeted: "with the
Palestinians no longer willing to talk peace, why
should we make any of these massive future
payments to them?"