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PODCAST: Understanding Trump’s Jerusalem Gamble

Editor’s noteThis podcast was originally published in December, following news that the Trump administration would move the US embassy in Israel from Tel Aviv to Jerusalem. That move happened today, in a ceremony in Jerusalem attended by top American officials. Palestinian protesters responded with demonstrations across Palestine. In Gaza, at least 41 people were killed by Israeli soldiers as they attempted to cross the border.

This is an extremely tense situation in Israel, Palestine and across the region. In this podcast episode, Middle East expert Marc Lynch discusses the broader regional and global implications of the decision to formally recognize Jerusalem as the capitol of Israel. It is well worth revisiting in light of today’s events.

If you have 20 minutes and want to understand the broader context of the events in Israel and Palestine today, have a listen. 

Original Post Below

The United States will formally recognize Jerusalem as Israel’s capitol and intends to move its embassy there from Tel Aviv — thus, decreed President Trump from the White House yesterday.

The move bucks decades of US policy, which sought to include the status of Jerusalem as part of a broader peace agreement between Israel and the Palestinians. Meanwhile, virtually the entire world warned President Trump against this declaration, fearing that it will sow instability throughout the region and erect yet another obstacle in the way of an already failing peace process.

On the line with me to discuss the implications of this announcement to both the Arab-Israeli peace process and to regional politics more broadly is Marc Lynch. Lynch is Professor of Political Science and International Affairs at George Washington University’s Elliot School; Director, Project on Middle East Political Science (POMEPS) and one of my favorite middle east analysts.

He explains why previous US administration’s have held off on making this move. And, he puts this decision by Trump administration in the context of its broader policies towards the region. Lynch argues that Trump is making a high-stakes gamble with this Jerusalem gambit–the outcome of which is highly uncertain.

If you have 20 minutes and want to understand the broader implications of the US decision to declare Jerusalem the capitol of Israel, have a listen.

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