Utica College Professor of Government, Politics and International Relations, Dr. Nate Richmond, has alarming expectations for the fallout from President Trump's recognition Wednesday of Jerusalem as Israel's capital.
"I think that this is going to fuel terrorism in the Middle East. This is going to cause a lot of... more upheaval in that region. It's going to advance the cause of extremists. It's not going to help the moderates in any way and I think that this is throwing gasoline on a fire," said Richmond, adding that it's not only Israelis and Palestinians who might suffer. "I think we currently expect a lot of blowback over this and a lot of Americans' lives could be in danger because of this."
Richmond suspects the President's motives have nothing to do with advancing peace in the Middle East.
"The only reason I can discern is to create some kind of chaos. To call attention to something else other than the Russia investigation", said Richmond, who finds consensus on that from what many might feel is an unlikely source.
"There's not a particular reason to do this right now, except the fact that maybe he wants to distract attention from other things that are going on in the country," said Rabbi Peter Shaktman, of Temple Emanu-El, in Utica, adding that the statement was not a revelation. "There's nothing particulary profound about this. The reality of it is, Jerusalem is Israel's capital, everyone knows Jerusalem is Israel's capital."
Richmond believes the statement won't only fail to advance peace, but pause the process.
"The Arabs are going to walk away from the peace process in protest," says Richmond.
Rabbi Shaktman is keeping his eye on the ball, with a wait-and-see attitude.
"What we're looking for is a peaceful solution to the Israel Palestine dilemma and things that are symbolic but not actually effective that don't lead to peace are not really helpful. Whether this will be such a move, time will tell. But, again, it doesn't change any facts on the ground," said Shaktman.
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