[guest post by Dana]
President Trump officially recognized Jerusalem as the capital of Israel and ordered the State Dept. to begin preparations to move the U.S. embassy from Tel Aviv to Jerusalem. Citing the decision as a new approach to the Israeli-Palestinian conflict, the president said:
In 1995, Congress adopted the Jerusalem Embassy Act urging the federal government to relocate the American Embassy to Jerusalem and to recognize that that city, and so importantly, is Israel’s capital. This act passed congress by an overwhelming bipartisan majority. And was reaffirmed by unanimous vote of the Senate only six months ago.
Yet, for over 20 years, every previous American president has exercised the law’s waiver, refusing to move the U.S. Embassy to Jerusalem or to recognize Jerusalem as Israel’s capital city. Presidents issued these waivers under the belief that delaying the recognition of Jerusalem would advance the cause of peace. Some say they lacked courage but they made their best judgments based on facts as they understood them at the time. Nevertheless, the record is in.
After more than two decades of waivers, we are no closer to a lasting peace agreement between Israel and the Palestinians.
It would be folly to assume that repeating the exact same formula would now produce a different or better result.
Therefore, I have determined that it is time to officially recognize Jerusalem as the capital of Israel.
While previous presidents have made this a major campaign promise, they failed to deliver.
Today, I am delivering. I’ve judged this course of action to be in the best interests of the United States of America and the pursuit of peace between Israel and the Palestinians. This is a long overdue step to advance the peace process. And to work towards a lasting agreement.
As expected, President Trump’s decision was met with criticism and dire warnings from the usual suspects. The Palestinians, who obviously have no interest in making peace with a people they prefer didn’t exist, have called for “three days of rage” in protest against the move. British Prime Minister Theresa May charged that “Jerusalem should ultimately form a shared capital between the Israeli and Palestinian states,” and said that she plans to speak with President Trump about the decision. The Ayatollah Ali Khamenei of Iran blamed the move on U.S. “incompetence and failure”. Even Pope Francis weighed in, saying he could not “keep silent about [his] deep concern” for Jerusalem and urged respect for “the status quo of the city in accordance with the relevant resolutions of the United Nations.”
Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu, calling today historic, thanked President Trump for his “courageous” and “just” decision”:
“This decision reflects the president’s commitment to an ancient but enduring truth,” Netanyahu said. “The president’s decision is an important step toward peace, for there is no peace that doesn’t include Jerusalem as the capital of Israel.”
With that, David French explains why President Trump’s actions today should be celebrated, and why he should be congratulated for taking such a bold step:
President Trump’s decision to formally recognize that Jerusalem is the capital of Israel and to announce plans to move America’s embassy to the seat of Israel’s government is one of the best, most moral, and important decisions of his young administration. On this issue, he is demonstrating greater resolve than Republican and Democratic presidents before him, and he is defying some of the worst people in the world.
Also in his excellent piece, French looks at the “law, history, and context” of Israel, and the double-standard use of “stability” when applied to Israel:
From the birth of the modern nation-state of Israel, an unholy mixture of anti-Semites and eliminationists have both sought to drive the Jewish people into the sea and — when military measures failed — isolate the Jewish nation diplomatically, militarily, and culturally. Working through the U.N. and enabled by Soviet-bloc (and later) European allies, these anti-Semites and eliminationists have waged unrelenting “lawfare” against Israel. (Lawfare is the abuse of international law and legal processes to accomplish military objectives that can’t be achieved on the battlefield.)
The scam works like this: The U.N. and other international bodies establish rules that apply only to Israel, or they hold Israel to higher standards than any other nation on earth; then, when Israel (or its primary ally, America) object to those unjust rules and double standards, the Arab world threatens unrest, riots, or, at worst, renewed jihad. A cowardly European community goes along, perpetuating injustice in the name of “stability.”
If “stability” means the perpetuation of double standards, the isolation of Israel, and continued kowtowing to threats of violence, then it’s time to call the Arabs’ bluff. If the most powerful nation in the history of the world doesn’t have the moral strength to even properly recognize Israel’s capital, it gives aid and comfort to those who impose unique burdens on the Jewish state. Will America’s Arab allies — nations that depend on our alliances to confront a growing Iranian threat — forsake their own national security to protest an embassy location? It’s time to find out. The Trump administration has made the right move. Now let’s see how the bigots respond.
President Trump should be congratulated. He has taken an enormous step toward fulfilling his campaign promise that the embassy should be moved to “the eternal capital for the Jewish people, Jerusalem.” It has been a very good day for him.
(Cross-posted at The Jury Talks Back.)