American presidents have been promising to recognize Jerusalem as Israel’s capital and to move the United States embassy to that city from Tel Aviv for decades, even before the passage of the Jerusalem Embassy Act in the 1990s. Those same presidents have been signing waivers, putting off that move for decades, citing diplomatic niceties, and the feelings of the Arabs, especially Palestinians.

President Donald trump has actually recognized Jerusalem as the capital of Israel and has started the process of moving the embassy there. The world community has reacted in a range of expressions, from concern from American allies to threats of violence and jihad from terrorist groups such as Hamas.

So why did Trump make the decision he did?

Peace process? What peace process?

The main objection to recognizing Jerusalem as Israel’s capital and moving the embassy there is that it might hurt the peace process. The Palestinians entertain fantasies that Jerusalem will be the capital of their hypothetical state. The recognition of the city as Israel’s capital conflicts with this option. As a recent piece in the Huffington Post notes, pretensions aside, the Palestinians do not have a state as is generally accepted by international law. A state has to have recognized boundaries and a single government. The boundaries of a future Palestinian State have yet to be determined by a peace agreement. The Palestinians have two competing governments, the Palestinian Authority on the West Bank and the Hamas regime in the Gaza Strip.

The Palestinian Authority is a semi-sovereign entity that allows the Palestinians on the West Bank a certain degree of autonomy pending the establishment of a full blown state in a peace agreement with Israel.

However, Trump, unlike some of the pro-Arab folks at the State Department, recognizes two facts. First, no Israeli government is going to cede Jerusalem to a Palestinian State as part of a peace agreement.

Israelis have long memories of how Jews were barred from the Western Wall on the Temple Mount before Jerusalem was liberated during the Six Day War. Second, the peace process, so-called, has never been about peace or much of a process, especially from the point of view of the Palestinians.

They cling to the idea of driving every Jew in Israel into the sea and establishing their state on the ruins of what they call “the Zionist Entity.”

The Arabs need Trump more than Trump needs the Arabs

The Arab world has become increasingly focused on the threat posed by the imperial ambitions of the Islamic Republic of Iran. It is also coming to grips with the reality that the basis of the economy of the Gulf Arab states, oil and gas, is becoming less and less significant. The Arabs need Trump as their friend, to ward off the Iranians and to develop a high tech economy. Indeed, they need Israel for those two reasons as well. The Palestinians are just an inconvenience.

Trump looks good standing up for Israel

One belief that is shared by most Americans (with the glaring exception of Barack Obama) is that Israel is a democracy surrounded by implacable enemies. To be sure, some of the same members of Congress who voted for the Jerusalem Embassy Act, such as Sen Dianne Feinstein, D-California, and Sen Bernie Sanders, I-Vermont, are urging caution. However, they seem like squishes and Trump looks decisive as a result. The decision is a winner from the president’s perspective.