The above footage of White House Press Secretary Sean Spicer trying to explain the status of the Western Wall needs to be seen in the context of Trump’s larger peace initiative. President Trump is certainly serious about reaching a peace deal between Israel and the Palestinian Arabs and as a consummate deal maker he realizes the Old City is a deal breaker for both sides. The hint in Spicer’s comments when he says the Western Wall is clearly in Jerusalem, yet balks on whether that means it is in Israel hold the key to Trump’s ultimate deal.
President Trump may very well be willing to take the Old City of Jerusalem off the table and by doing so making a “peace” deal very possible. By creating a special committee to run the old City of Jerusalem as was proposed by Olmert, the rest of the agreement is about land swaps in connection to Judea and Samaria in order to ensure there are no meaningful evictions of Jews. Making Jerusalem international will not go over well in Israel, but it has precedent when Israel’s first Prime Minister agreed to its international status as part of the Palestine Partition Plan that never bore fruit. This regime was known as the Corpus separatum.
No doubt Trump and his team are aware of this and will remind the Israeli government of this fact. This however will be a mistake as the true agreement Ben Gurion signed onto only made Jerusalem international for 10 years in which time the city would vote on its future. Given the fact it had a clear Jewish Majority before 1948, it would have decided to become part of Israel.
Spicer’s comments should be an alarm to pro-Israel supporters, because attempting to internationalize Jerusalem will not only fail, it will lead to massive blood shed on both sides.