It is now a fortnight since President Trump made his historic announcement about the status of Jerusalem. The speech which announced that America would drop the pretence that Jerusalem is not the capital of the State of Israel was relayed live around the world. Across the major networks and the world’s front pages the response was almost unanimous. They proclaimed this a major foreign policy blunder which would lead to any number of problems including — many predicted — an immediate “third intifada.”
The world’s cameras immediately turned to Bethlehem where a small group of enterprising Palestinians burned an American flag for the cameras. This picture went around the world. Otherwise, not very much appeared to be happening. Hamas called for a “Day or Rage” — as opposed to the days of peace and harmony the terrorist group ordinarily calls for — but this did not spill out very far. The Friday immediately following the announcement might have been a flashpoint, tempers being famously frayed after the act of afternoon worship. And yet, as the BBC’s veteran reporter Jeremy Bowen tweeted from the scene, “At Damascus Gate in Jerusalem press pack outnumbering demonstrators.” The fabled “Arab Street” had been meant to rise up.
And it did rise up. But not in the Arab world.