From The National
Jerusalem's inhabitants will have to shame Israel, the US and the watching world by striving for a single state
It is tempting to interpret the announcement of a delay, however brief, in US vice president Mike Pence's visit to the Middle East this week as the ultimate travel warning. It follows an eruption of regional unrest over Donald Trump's recognition of Jerusalem as Israel's capital.
On Friday, during protests, Israeli occupation forces killed four Palestinians and injured more than 250.
US officials, however, are not worried about the safety of Mr Pence, who is due in Israel on Wednesday. In fact, predictions of a third Palestinian uprising in response to Mr Trump's Jerusalem declaration may be premature.
After decades of flagrant US bias towards Israel, Mr Trump has only confirmed to Palestinians what they already knew. Some even grudgingly welcomed his candor. They hope he has finally silenced US claims to being an "honest broker" in an interminable "peace process" that has simply bought time for Israel to entrench the occupation.
The Palestinians' anger towards Israel and the US is a slow-burning fuse. It will detonate at a moment of their choosing, not of Mr Trump's.
Rather, the hesitation in Washington over the vice president's visit reflects the messy new diplomatic reality that the White House has unleashed.
Mr Pence was due here to smooth the path to Mr Trump's long-promised peace plan and to highlight the plight of Christians in the Middle East. The door has now been firmly shut in his face on both counts. Palestinian officials have declared a boycott, as have Christian leaders in Palestine and Egypt.
Instead of cancelling Mr Pence's visit or exploiting the extra days' breathing space to try to reverse the damage, the bull-headed Trump administration is eager to break more of the china.
Following the diplomatic precedent set in May by his boss, Mr Pence is scheduled to visit the Western Wall on Wednesday night in Jerusalem's occupied Old City and immediately below the Al Aqsa mosque plaza.
Described as "official," his visit will be invested with far graver symbolism following Mr Trump's designation of Jerusalem as Israel's capital.
The US policy change on Jerusalem has been a hammer blow to the three main pillars supporting the cause of Palestinian statehood: the Palestinian Authority, the European Union and the Arab states.
The biggest loser is Palestinian president Mahmoud Abbas. Washington stripped him of his emperor's clothes: he now heads a Palestinian government-in-waiting that is unlikely ever to be attached to a state, viable or otherwise.
The Arab states, which assumed they were the key to a much-touted "outside-in" strategy, creating a regional framework for peace, have been deprived of the single issue -- Jerusalem -- that matters most to them.