On Israel, Trump has moved from outsider to wimp

Ruben Ruiz
May 19, 2017

Yet Secretary of State Rex Tillerson, in an interview with NBC's "Meet the Press" on May 14, said that Trump "is being very careful to understand how such a decision would impact the peace process". The White House disputed the account.

A move would also be costly: the US doesn't own a facility in Jerusalem large enough to house its embassy, and would have to build a secure compound at considerable expense even as Trump seeks money for a military buildup, a border wall and infrastructure development. But by adhering to the same discredited policies that don't recognize that Jerusalem is Israel's capital and that for the first time in history the city's holy places are open to all faiths, Trump is going to get the same disastrous results as Obama.

Two Florida Republicans in Congress made the case that Jerusalem is part of Israel this week. "It's time for the United States to move the embassy to Jerusalem, and the president's visit to Israel would be an ideal time for him to make that announcement". Among those on hand were Rep. Ed Royce, R-Calif., the chairman of the U.S. House of Representatives Foreign Affairs Committee, and Rep. Steny Hoyer, D-Md., the House minority whip.

With reports out that an American diplomat insisted to the Netanyahu government that the Western Wall in Jerusalem was not Israeli territory, DeSantis weighed in on the matter this week.

And Trump isn't the first USA or Israeli leader to disclose intelligence in a way that made spy professionals cringe. A US law passed in 1995 called on the embassy to be moved, but allowed the president to waive the requirement as a matter of national security, something every president since then has done.

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A nine-day tour taking in Saudi Arabia, Israel, the Palestinian territories, the Vatican and North Atlantic Treaty Organisation would be a tall order for any president. While Israelis call Jerusalem their "indivisible capital", Palestinians want the capital of any future state in the east of the city.

The conflicting claims to Jerusalem lie at the heart of the Israeli-Palestinian conflict.

Trump has backed away from other campaign promises as well. "He has not come out and said that settlements are an obstacle to peace; he has not called for a settlement freeze; he has worked with the Israelis to come up with a common understanding about how they might proceed".

While President Trump interested in making an effort at a peace deal, Abbas has set himself up as willingly cooperating, while the political ramifications for Netanyahu will make it hard for him to accept talks under any conditions, or even no conditions, without risking his coalition. He urged Netanyahu to stand firm during the visit. "Nothing defines the unique relationship between the United States and Israel more than the Scripture from the book of Leviticus in our Bible inscribed on the Liberty Bell - 'Proclaim Liberty throughout the land unto all the inhabitants thereof'". But they come with diplomatic dangers and potential pitfalls, too.

The letter, issued by American Christian Leaders for Israel (ACLI), cites the Jerusalem Embassy Act of 1995 recognizing Jerusalem as Israel's capital and ordering the US President to move the Embassy there by May 31, 1999.

Other reports by GizPress

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