If President Donald Trump makes good on his promise to move the United States embassy to Jerusalem, this would demonstrate support for Israel and show “Israel’s enemies that the security of the Jewish state is non-negotiable for Washington,” Josh Block, president and CEO of The Israel Project wrote in an op-ed published Tuesday in The Algemeiner.
The Israel Project publishes The Tower.
Block observed that Trump visited Israel over the course of his first trip abroad as president and that his visit coincided with the 50th anniversary of the reunification of Jerusalem in 1967.
The Jerusalem Trump saw, Block noted, “is a vibrant, modern, thriving city.”
It’s a pilgrim site central to the history of Jews, Christians and Muslims — and open to people of all faiths. The city is the home of the Israeli government, parliament and high court. It is a city interspersed with universities, museums and ancient buildings.
Jerusalem is the perfect capital. What is missing are the embassies of other nations to the state of Israel.
As a candidate, Trump promised to change that situation, but when it was time to sign the waiver in June to allow the U.S. embassy to remain in Tel Aviv, Trump signed the waiver. Despite his promise to move the embassy to Jerusalem, he acted as all of his predecessors have since the Jerusalem Embassy Act was passed in 1995.
After signing the waiver, Trump told former Arkansas Governor Mike Huckabee that he wanted to try peacemaking between Israel and the Palestinians before moving the embassy.
Trump, Block wrote, “seems to have fallen victim to the persistent myth that the chances for peace would be undermined by affirming Israel’s sovereignty in Jerusalem.”
After Trump expressed his doubts over the embassy move, Senate Minority Leader Sen. Chuck Schumer (D – N.Y.) criticized the president for his “indecisiveness” and added, “Moving the embassy as soon as possible would appropriately commemorate the fiftieth anniversary of Jerusalem’s reunification and show the world that the US definitively acknowledges Jerusalem as Israel’s capital.”
Block observed that there is support across the political spectrum in Israel for the embassy move, and the move also enjoys bipartisan support in the U.S. Block also noted that a group of senators, both Democrats and Republicans, once wrote to President Bill Clinton, urging him not to use the waiver arguing “Non-fulfillment of the law does no good to the US-Israeli relationship or to prospects for Arab-Israel peace.”
Dan Shapiro, who was U.S. Ambassador to Israel during the Obama administration, made a similar argument in an op-ed that was published Tuesday in The Wall Street Journal. Shapiro noted that an announcement to move the embassy to Jerusalem could be an important part of Trump’s peace initiative as “Palestinians will see that the U.S. strongly supports historic Jewish and Israeli claims to Jerusalem.”
Moving the embassy, Block added, would also show the Palestinians “that unilateralism will no longer be rewarded, and that the only acceptable path forward is genuine peace negotiations.”
Regarding fears that moving the U.S. embassy to Jerusalem could spur violence, Block noted that Palestinian violence against Israel is very much a part of Palestinian political culture, even with the embassy in Tel Aviv.
When you name public squares and women centers after terrorists, you are encouraging a culture of hatred. When you celebrate suicide bombers as “martyrs” and role models for Palestinians, you are glorifying violence. When you deny Israel’s right to exist, you are preaching a genocidal ideology.
Moving the embassy to Jerusalem would be an acknowledgment of the “continuous Jewish presence in Jerusalem for three millennia,” as well as an affirmation of a bipartisan political consensus in the U.S.
[Photo: Government Press Office / Flickr]