Donald Trump is playing with matches in the Middle East

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On its face, the US embassy opening in Jerusalem looked like a calculated provocation. Donald Trump sent his closest family — his daughter, Ivanka Trump, and son-in-law, Jared Kushner — to the ceremony. They made no mention of the Palestinians protesting the 70th anniversary of losing their homeland.

On the same day, the Israeli army killed dozens of the protesters and wounded thousands. Meanwhile, Mike Pence, the US vice-president, likened Mr Trump to the biblical King David — the one who defeated a mighty foe against impossible odds. All in all, it was an egregious day’s work.

Yet this Trumpian special was born of negligence rather than design. Had Mr Trump wished to inflame Arabist sentiment, he could not have done it better. That would have been a more reassuring explanation. In practice, alienating Palestinians was collateral damage. Mr Trump could not resist the adulation — down to…

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