Gershom Gorenberg

Gershom Gorenberg is a senior correspondent for The Prospect. He is the author of The Unmaking of Israel, of The Accidental Empire: Israel and the Birth of the Settlements, 1967-1977 and of The End of Days: Fundamentalism and the Struggle for the Temple Mount. He blogs at South Jerusalem. Follow @GershomG.

Recent Articles

If Only They'd Leaked the Briefing Paper to Fox

Trump blithely dumped support for a two-state accord. Palestinians and Israelis will pay the price. It's a case study in his foreign non-policy. 

Rex Features via AP Images
Contrary to what you may have read, the so-called president of the United States did not stand next to Benjamin Netanyahu and announce that he has abandoned American backing for a two-state agreement between Israel and the Palestinians. What Donald Trump actually announced last week was that the new American regime has abandoned caring about Israeli-Palestinian peace, or for that matter caring to understand the issue. This is actually much more cynical and dangerous, and demonstrates, with exclamation marks, how people far from American shores are likely to suffer from America's strange choice of a leader. “So I’m looking at two-state and one-state, and I like the one that both parties like.” Trump said at his press conference with Netanyahu. “I’m very happy with the one that both parties like. I can live with either one. I thought for a while the two-state looked like it may be the easier of the two. But honestly, if Bibi and if the Palestinians—if...

Be Grateful That He's Not Subtle About It

I live in a country where democracy is fading. Trump's all-out assault makes it easier for Americans to sustain resistance.

AP Photo/Alex Brandon
Strange as it may sound, I'm jealous of progressive Americans as they contend with the Trump dystopia. At least the assault on your democracy—and on your most basic sense of what country you live in—is coming all at once. For an Israeli, this is a reason for envy. The gradual offensive against our own democracy has made resistance far more difficult. Nonetheless, you may be able to learn something from our experience—not so much from our successes, but from our mistakes. I know that three months after election night you still can't wrap your mind around it. The rest of the world—or at least my corner of it—watches America the way someone watches a car racing over a cliff: horrified and riveted. I can't escape by switching from English to Hebrew news. Trump, spelled from right to left, is all over the Israeli media. On Sundays, the top public radio station always finds an excuse for playing the audio of the previous night's SNL send-off of the Trump clique...

The Wrecking Ball

The rise of the Trump regime is demolishing the last hopes for a peaceful, two-state resolution to the Israeli-Palestinian conflict.

AP Photo/Majdi Mohammed
We interrupt this broadcast from America's airports with an economic bulletin: Already, Donald Trump is creating jobs—not by action but simply by his amoral aura, by his projection of chaotic cluelessness, by the mere fact of taking power. OK, the jobs will be offshore: in the West Bank, building new homes in Israeli settlements—and in the process, burying Israeli-Palestinian peace prospects. The simple version of the story is this: Two days after that under-attended inauguration in Washington, the Jerusalem City Council—suddenly liberated from U.S. pressure—gave the go-ahead to build over 560 new homes in Jewish neighborhoods of East Jerusalem. Soon after, Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu and Defense Minister Avigdor Lieberman signed off on 2,500 more homes in the rest of the West Bank. The reversal was stark: Only last month—and several political eons ago—the previous administration enraged Netanyahu by abstaining on a Security Council resolution...

Capital Offense

History explains why America has never moved its embassy to Jerusalem. Trump is likely to ignore history and caution, and the holy city will pay the price.

AP Photo/Eitan Hess-Ashkenazi, File
On December 6, President Trump formally recognized Jerusalem as the capital of Israel and announced plans to move the U.S. embassy there. In his January 2017 column, Gershom Gorenberg outlined the diplomatic and national security ramifications for Israel and the U.S. that could follow such a move. Somewhere around 3 a.m. on the Saturday after next, America's newly inaugurated chief insomniac is likely to tweet, “Moved U.S. embassy to Jerusalem, Israel's capital. Huge!” Yes. It will be a huge mistake. Among experts, the most optimistic estimation is that the diplomatic and security impact on Israel and the United States will be merely awful, not apocalyptic. I do not take comfort even from such “upbeat” assessments, perhaps because I live a few hundred meters from the U.S. consulate in Jerusalem—which, with the switch of a sign, will become the embassy, and quite possibly the focus for violent protests. Mr. Trump, I'd like to tell him, if I could hold his...

The Last Thing Netanyahu Wants to Say Is 'Annexation'

Facing an Israeli court deadline and a possible Security Council resolution on settlements, Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu wants to avoid admitting what his real policy is. Waiting for Trump is easier.

Abir Sultan, Pool via AP
Update: Late Wednesday night, the Amona settlers rejected the compromise offered by the Israeli government, and prepared to resist evacuation. The decision is likely to lead to a major confrontation between settlers and police at the mountaintop outpost and to a crisis in Israel's government coalition—or to a diplomatic crisis, depending on how Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu responds. December 25 is usually an ordinary day in Israel. This year, though, it has been marked prominently on Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu's calendar. It signifies a deadline he has sought to delay and a reckoning on his West Bank policy that he wants to postpone—if possible, forever. Netanyahu's policy is to protect and expand settlements. He thereby shows that he regards Israeli rule as permanent. All the while, he aims to maintain the facade of a temporary, reversible military occupation. Outright annexation would enrage allies and erase any justification for not giving the full...