Reaction: President Trump declares Jerusalem as the capital of Israel
ST. JOSEPH COUNTY —
A foreign policy expert at Notre Dame says the president's decision will likely disrupt peace talks in the Middle East.
The Arab world is very unhappy.
Political Science Professor and foreign policy expert, Michael Desch, says it's already impacted U.S. relations with several leaders in the Middle East.
The backlash has one local member of the Jewish community worried this could cause more unrest and terror in the region.
Desch says the president and Secretary of State Rex Tillerson are suggesting his decision to recognize Jerusalem as the capital of Israel will somehow advance the peace process.
He says everyone else is scratching their head thinking the complete opposite.
"The hope, to use the recognition of Jerusalem as the capital of Israel, as a lever to get the Israelis to sign a peace agreement and also not to foreclose any potential agreement with the Palestinians,” said Desch.
Rabbi Fred Nebel of South Bend's Midwest Torah Center says he's happy about the news.
"He's living up to his promise and he's doing what other presidents have said they would do but they didn't. Yet, I also have trepidation of what could happen to people,” said Nebel.
He says people on both sides want to wake up without fear of dying. He says they want peace but he fears potential fallout.
"Those who want to have unrest and terror will use any reason that they can to create that and make trouble,” Nebel said.
Desch says there is a reason former American presidents have avoided doing this for more than 70 years.
"The assumption all along was that Jerusalem was historically, religiously, and politically very complicated and the final status agreement for it would have to recognize those complications,” Desch said.
Local Palestinians did not respond for comment.
A group of Notre Dame students are planning to visit Jerusalem in January as part of a Global Gateways tour. Professor Desch says some are wondering whether they will be able to go now.
He says it's too soon to tell how this news will impact them.