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President Trump Confirms U.S. Embassy Move to Jerusalem

President Trump announced on Wednesday that the United States would start the process of moving the U.S. embassy in Israel, which is currently located in Tel Aviv, to the city of Jerusalem. The move is a way to formally recognize Jerusalem as the Israeli capital, though that question has been at the heart of the Israel/Palestinian conflict for decades. Critics of the move see it as a barrier which will inflame tensions and make any kind of peace deal that much more difficult. Supporters point out that a peace deal seems nearly off the table as it stands, so why not lend some support to one of America’s only Middle East allies.

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Here’s an excerpt video from the first two minutes of the President’s announcement:

In a his statement, President Trump said it’s “time to formally recognize Jerusalem as the capital of Israel.” The Wall Street Journal calls the move a gamble:

“We will move the American Embassy to the eternal capital of the Jewish people, Jerusalem,” Mr. Trump told the American Israel Public Affairs Committee, one of the largest pro-Israel groups in the U.S. in March 2016, when he was the front-runner for the Republican presidential nomination. AIPAC struck a positive tone on Mr. Trump’s decision, tweeting: “It is our long-held position that undivided #Jerusalem is the historic, current and future capital of Israel. We continue to believe that the United States should recognize Jerusalem as Israel’s capital.”

Arab leaders across the Middle East are making last-ditch appeals to the U.S. not to declare Jerusalem as Isreal’s capital. The foreign ministers of Jordan and Egypt have called Secretary of State Rex Tillerson to warn about the dangers of such an announcement. Palestinian leaders had pledged to stop working with the U.S. if Mr. Trump makes any declaration about Jerusalem this week. And Americans have been warned to carefully consider travel plans to Jerusalem’s Old City and the West Bank, citing widespread calls for demonstrations to be held today.

Mr. Trump’s decision on Jerusalem marks a return toward unilateral action after his frustrating year working with Congress, where the push to the repeal the Affordable Care Act stalled and the tax reform effort, which isn’t finished, has yielded changes to the tax code that are unpopular with the public.

The current embassy was opened in 1966 in Tel Aviv, over the objections of Israel which claimed Jerusalem as the capital. The Tel Aviv location became a compromise so that formal relations with the Israel state could begin while the United States attempted to avoid getting entangled in the regional conflict between Israelis and Palestinians.

Among lawmakers in Congress, Republicans heavily favor the move. On the Democratic side, however, the reactions are mixed, according to The Weekly Standard:

Sen. Schumer in October called on Trump to move the U.S. Embassy and argued that doing so would “show the world that the U.S. definitively acknowledges Jerusalem as Israel’s capital.”

Maryland senator Ben Cardin, the top Democrat on the Foreign Relations Committee, reiterated his support for recognizing Jerusalem when asked Monday about the president’s potential announcement.

“I believe that Jerusalem is the capital of Israel, so to me, that’s not news,” he told TWS. Cardin added that Trump needs to make that announcement “in a way that advances Israel’s security and peace in the region.”

But a number of other Democrats are worried that Trump’s recognition of Jerusalem could undermine potential peace negotiations and trigger violence.

New Jersey senator Cory Booker said both the capital and embassy issues should be “part of a larger peace process.”

“It should be part of negotiations for eventual final status,” Booker told TWS. “We need to be working towards peace in that region.”

California senator Dianne Feinstein wrote to Trump on Friday warning him that declaring Jerusalem the capital would “undermine any remaining hope for a two-state solution.”

As a direct result of the move, Turkey’s president is calling for an “Islamic Summit” to address the matter, according to France24:

Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan is calling a summit of the main pan-Islamic body in Istanbul on December 13 to discuss the expected US move to recognise Jerusalem as Israel’s capital, his spokesman said on Wednesday.

“In the face of developments that arouse sensitivity over the status of Jerusalem, Mr President is calling a leaders’ summit of the Organisation of Islamic Cooperation (OIC) in order to display joint action among Islamic countries,” presidential spokesman Ibrahim Kalin told reporters in Ankara.

He said the summit meeting would take place on December 13. There was no immediate confirmation from Muslim leaders if they would come.

Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu praised the decision, according to Haaretz:

Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu said Wednesday that Israel’s “historical and national identity is receiving important expressions every day, but especially today.” The prime minister was speaking in a Facebook video ahead of the expected announcement by U.S. President Donald Trump to recognize Jerusalem as Israel’s capital. 

The move will ultimately take several years to complete. Embassies just don’t pack up and move overnight. The first step will be identifying actual land in Jerusalem, then going through a lengthy construction phase. The new embassy will need to be heavily fortified, of course, and all of this will take some time.

In fact, it’s entirely possible that this could bleed into another administration depending on whether Donald Trump wins reelection in 2020. While it’s probably unlikely that a different president would reverse this course, since it does have bipartisan backing, it’s possible that it could be further delayed depending on the circumstances.

Nate Ashworth :Nate Ashworth is the Founder and Senior Editor of Election Central. He's been blogging elections and politics for almost a decade. He started covering the 2008 Presidential Election which turned into a full-time political blog in 2012 and 2016.

View Comments (16)

  • Surprise, surprise a move by the Americans of their embassy from Tel Aviv to Jerusalem will anger the Palestinians. Why should anybody care, even after the Israeli gave them the Gaza Strip and West Bank still it didn't satisfy the Palestinians. The only way they will be satisfied is if they completely destroy all of Israel and take it as their own.?

    As much as I would like to see peace in the area, it will never happen while the Palestinians have as their sponsors Hamas and Iran. War is all they know and they will ultimately be destroyed by their actions. The Israeli army isn't playing nicey, nicey with terrorists.?

  • Trump loves to shake things up. In separate action, seen as a slap in the face of the Bush family, Trump agreed with Saddam, and has declared Kuwait as Iraq's 19th province. It's not expected to cause any problems, either.

  • End times says that the end of the World will start in Jerusalem, the capital of Israel. Even Nostradamus said the Third World War will start in this area of the world. So #45, the anti Christ, and his BFF, Bibi, are doing their best to ensure the prognosticators are accurate.

  • Isreal wants the embassy moved. So what business is it of anyone other than the people of Israel?

    Straight Shooter wrote a great post below.

      • Do you think Palestine really wants peace? I don't. So why should Trump do anything but what Israel wants?

        • HGB: It depends on what you mean by "peace." If it means total, unconditional surrender, then, no.

          The status of Jerusalem is one of the very few things Palestinians has had to negotiate about.

          Consider this: Israel is demanding that Palestinians recognize the right of Israel to exist within clear borders before negotiations can begin. Ahead of any negotiations, are the Israelis, likewise, willing to recognize the State of Palestine, with its own clear borders?

          • What you said makes sense. I just don't happen to believe that Palestine will ever agree to anything. They are always going to fight until Israel is totally under their controlled. In other words gone.

          • You have to see things from their perspective. There was no consideration of a purposeful concentration of Jews until World War I. The Balfour Declaration was a ploy to get Jews to turn against the Axis powers--in the same way as it could be argued that Lincoln's Emancipation Proclamation--freeing slaves in places where he had no authority--could be seen as a tool of the war, not an altruistic act. Balfour was saying what "should be done" inside the Ottoman Empire.

            Remember that only ten percent of the inhabitants of the area were Jews during WWI. Balfour also didn't specify a "state." If that had been his intention, he could have simply set it up when Britain took over the area after WWI.

            World War II, of course, is most known for the Holocaust. I've always felt that the creation of Israel after that war was partly a case of European guilt and avoidance of paying back the Jewish people for what they lost--just get rid of them. Hitler would have called it the real "final solution" to the "JewishProblem." And the real problem was the way it was done--just pushing people out of their homes in Palestine. And remember that Palestine is equally holy to Jews, Christians, and Muslims.

            If we would have had a "Marshall Plan" for that area, too, setting up two viable states, we might have escaped 70 years of hostility.

        • Seventy years ago, at the end of British rule, the UN voted to partition Palestine into Jewish and Arab states. Jerusalem was defined as a separate entity under international supervision. In 1967, Israel was the aggressor and started the Six Day War with an act that was never recognized internationally. Israel captured and was allowed to keep the Gaza Strip, the Sinai Peninsula from Egypt, the West Bank (including East Jerusalem) from Jordan, and the Golan Heights from Syria. In this land grab, Israel had more than doubled its size as a country.

          Your question should have been “why does Trump support a country that steals land that belongs to other countries”?

          • Thanks for the history lesson. I Can't answer your question.

            My question: The US government bought the Philippines. Now the Philippines has their own government. Why?

            I could careless whether they are a separate country or not. I do know they'd be more advanced had they stayed a US territory.

          • After defeat in the Spanish-American War of 1898, Spain ceded its longstanding colonies of the Philippines, Guam and Puerto Rico to the United States in the Treaty of Paris and recieved twenty million dollars. Citizens Of these territories were given US Citizenship, however they cannot vote in federal elections. Same rules apply for the other sixteen US unincorporated territories, five of which are permanently inhabited: Puerto Rico, Guam, Northern Mariana Islands, the U.S. Virgin Islands, and American Samoa.

            The Philippines was a part of the United States as a territory until 1946 when by a majority vote the Filipino people decided to become a nation. Their political history from Aquino on up the ladder show living conditions for the poor people of the Philipines has declined from bad to worse.

            Last year, the Philippines and the United States signed EDCA agreement granting Washington increased military presence while rotating ships and planes for humanitarian and maritime security operations. Subic is also able to dock US nuculear submarines.

            Yet, on Jan 6, 2017, President Rodrigo Duterte said that he hoped Moscow would become his country’s ally and protector as he toured one of the two Russian warships on a four-day visit to Manila. Russia’s Mikhailov said on Tuesday Russia wanted to hold maritime exercises with the Philippines to help combat terrorism and piracy.

            With the ever changeable Duterte in charge, no one is safe. Not even on a US base.

          • Yes, people (foreigners) are safe. Duterte loves Trump. He gladly accepted the humanitarian, and military exercises, from the States. Yes, he also received military equipment from Russia or China.

            Several US medical missions have helped the Filipino people. The Filipino poor people receive such help as cataract surgery, lip deformity, and other operations by US doctors.

            How do I know. I am presently living in the Philippines.

          • You may live in the Philipines but odds are that you live and work on a protected US base. A different world exists there.

          • One could live on the base or on the island of Bohol and it wouldn't matter. Life in the Philippines is basically the same for a foreigner.

            Life for the majority of the Filipinos is very hard. They appreciate what president Duterte is doing for them.

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