When Donald Trump declared he would be moving the US embassy in Tel Aviv to Jerusalem, it sent a very strong signal to Palestinians and the Arab world that the US did not consider them to be human beings. The move, which was overwhelmingly denounced by the international community, was predicted to drastically inflame tensions in the region given Jerusalem was originally intended by the UN to be an international city within Palestinian territory.
And when Trump followed through on his promise, opening the new embassy in a brazen display of American/Israeli power, 2,700 Palestinian protestors were injured and at least 58 killed in Gaza by Israeli forces in the deadliest violence seen in years. It was a sickening event that sparked worldwide outrage and was condemned by the United Nations as an “outrageous human rights violation”.
It is hard to comprehend the astonishing cruelty behind the decision making in the White House. To know that a completely unnecessary decision will result in the deaths of countless people and throw the region into chaos for years to come takes a special kind of psychopathy. Trump knows nothing about the Middle East and nothing about the Israeli/Palestinian conflict, yet he knew that moving the embassy would gain him political points with the extreme right in America and the powerful pro-Israel lobby that has worked tirelessly to undermine peace efforts. US policy towards the Palestinians has been atrocious for decades, with one appeasing president after the other refusing to stand up to Israel or stop sending billions of dollars in military aid. While Obama did not actively try to make the situation for Palestinians better, he at least did not work to inflame the region and made efforts to curb Benjamin Netanyahu’s more genocidal tendencies.
Under Trump, America is returning to George W. Bush era hostilities towards the Arab world, setting back what little progress has been made by decades. Netanyahu, a vicious religious bigot and violent sociopath, has found a true ally in Trump — a man equally devoid of human empathy and equally willing to allow mass killings for short term political gain.
The US media has been shameful in its dehumanization of the Palestinian people, refusing to ever provide historic context behind the conflict and always assuming that Israel is “defending itself”, despite the blindingly obvious annexation of Palestinian territory and massively disproportionate military retaliations. This is thankfully changing with mainstream media outlets finally willing to speak the obvious truth: that Israel is occupying Palestinian territory and subjecting them to unspeakable acts of violence. But this has not changed US policy, and under Trump, it is about to get significantly worse.
The underlying principle responsible for allowing this barbarity to continue is the assumption that Palestinians, Arabs and Muslims are not really human, and do not suffer when their families are blown to pieces. They are all terrorists in the making anyway, so while their slaughter is unfortunate, it is all for the greater good — a strong, democratic Israel in a sea of hostile Arab savages. Jewish-American “intellectual” Ben Shapiro sums up US/Israeli opinion towards the Arab world perfectly:
Israelis like to build. Arabs like to bomb crap and live in open sewage. This is not a difficult issue. #settlementsrock
— Ben Shapiro (@benshapiro) September 27, 2010
This axiom allows for anything to go — further annexations of Palestinian land, more sanctions, more support for Israeli violence and a willingness to humiliate Palestinians at every opportunity.
The embassy move was not about peace and not about strengthening ties between Israel and the US — it was about stripping Palestinians of their dignity and holding a big party to show them how indifferent America and Israel are to their suffering. This effect has been achieved, and now the rest of the world will feel its consequences — a return to relentless war, violence and antagonism, and all to feed the egos of monsters.
Ben Cohen is the editor and founder of The Daily Banter. He lives in Washington DC where he does podcasts, teaches Martial Arts, and tries to be a good father. He would be extremely disturbed if you took him too seriously.