Commentary Magazine

The Embassy Moves

AP Photo/Sebastian Scheiner

So it has happened. The American embassy in Israel is now in Jerusalem, moving from Tel Aviv 70 years to the day the Jewish state came into being and 22 years since U.S. law declared it would move.

Richard Haass, who runs the Council on Foreign Relations, this morning tweeted that the Embassy move was an iatrogenic mistake—iatrogenesis meaning a disease you catch from treating another. Well, that’s fast. There’s no evidence whatever there is any new disease. In fact, there is evidence of diseases healing all over the place.

Last week Arab states expressed support for Israel’s bombing raids on Iranian positions in Syria. I doubt Haass expected to see such a thing before the creation of a Palestinian state. Instead, what we’re seeing is Arab states apparently abandoning their insistence on a Palestinian state as the sine qua non for any relationship with Israel.

Yes, there are staged riots in Gaza right now, but in what sense is that new? Gazans have launched wars with Israel thrice in the past decade. If Haass truly thinks this is about the embassy and not about deeper and longer trends, I have a bridge from Gaza to the West Bank to sell him. The Gazans are goading Israeli forces into firing on them, and Europeans and American Leftists are screaming murder. And, again, what else is new.

Well, what’s new is that there is an American administration that isn’t listening to them and doesn’t care about their opinion. In fact, you might say the longtime diplomatic insistence on acting as though the Palestinians are an interlocutor for peace rather than an enemy of peace has been one of the more significant iatrogenic mistakes in the land between the Mediterranean and the Jordan River for going on many decades now.

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