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

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

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 Jerusalem.)

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