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President Trump has announced he will break with decades of U.S. foreign policy and move the U.S. Embassy in Israel from Tel Aviv to Jerusalem. The move has already stirred up a polarized response.
USA TODAY

President Trump’s recognition of Jerusalem as Israel’s capital sends a stark message that Palestinians should abandon their all-or-nothing demands in peace talks and applies subtle pressure on the Jewish state to make concessions, analysts said Wednesday.  

Trump’s message to Palestinians in his speech can be summed up as the less you concede, the more you lose, said Eugene Kontorovich, head of international law at the Kohelet Policy Forum in Jerusalem who testified before Congress in November. 

“The Palestinians have learned that by saying ‘no’ they can always get something better next time,” Kontorovich said. “They have to learn that if they say no, next time they won’t get the same offer.”

The announcement fulfills the president’s campaign pledge to improve U.S. relations with Israel and move the embassy from Tel Aviv to Jerusalem, said Jonathan Schanzer, senior vice president at the Foundation for Defense of Democracies.

“A strong Israel secure in its alliance with the United States will be more willing to take chances for peace,” Schanzer said. “It will be interesting to watch in the weeks and months ahead whether the Trump administration makes requests of the Israelis on other issues.”

Israel regards Jerusalem as its capital, but the international community says the city’s status should be determined through peace talks. Palestinians seek East Jerusalem as the capital of a future, independent state. Israel captured East Jerusalem in 1967 and later annexed it. 

Palestinians strongly rejected the president’s move, saying it shows the U.S. sides with Israel and can no longer play the role of peace broker. 

“It’s over,” said Mustafa Barghouti, a member of the Palestine Liberation Organization’s Central Council. Trump’s announcement “aborted his peace process before it was born.”

Palestinians will fight back by seeking support from the United Nations, the International Criminal Court and other world…