According to the Jerusalem Post, President Donald Trump, in his first full day in office, trying to normalize relations with Israel after Barack Obama’s eight years of perceived indifference and antagonism, is expected to announce his beginning of moving the US Embassy in Israel from Tel Aviv to Jerusalem, Israel’s actual capital and Judaism’s holy city for over 3,000 years.
This move is a very controversial one—Israelis and Jews on the Right are ecstatic by the news, citing that Jerusalem is the rightful place for the world to recognize as its united, eternal capital. On the other hand, this proposal has been met with much pushback from the Palestinian Authority, much of the Arab world, and the far Left, who believe that much of Jerusalem is “occupied” Palestinian Arab land and would destroy the prospects of a two-state solution, which would give the Palestinians a country of their own, in Israel’s West Bank and Gaza regions, thereby destroying any prospects of Middle East peace.
However, this proposal of moving the embassy to Jerusalem is not new. In 1995, Congress passed the appropriately named Jerusalem Embassy Act, which would have moved the embassy to Israel’s capital. Yet, the Act gave the President the option of waiving it every six months, and, predictably, in order to not become engulfed in controversy with the Arabs and the Left, has waived it ever since. Thus, sadly, the embassy is still not in its rightful place.
Why has moving the US embassy to the capital of Israel brought so much debate that the idea could almost never be spoken about? The reason is, mainly, that the Left and the Arab world have expressed anger at the idea of moving the embassy, claiming it would lead to war with the Arab world. Most presidents have wanted to avoid this type of controversy, choosing instead to chase the idea of peace, which is pure fantasy, since the Palestinians and much of the Arab world claim Israel has no right to exist. Even conservative Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu, while obviously opposing the two-state solution, has not explicitly stated the idea to move the embassy to avoid this controversy.
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Interestingly, Jerusalem is a different case than the other territories that the Palestinians want for their state, since although much of Eastern Jerusalem is Arab, it was annexed by Israel, making it different than the West Bank, even though both areas were won by the Israelis in the 1967 Six Day War against Jordan, Syria and Egypt. However, despite this, the Palestinian Arabs claim the eastern part of Jerusalem as the capital of their prospective future state, all while claiming Israel doesn’t have the right to exist, which de facto would make the entire Jerusalem, not to mention the entire Israel, their state.
Regarding the Left’s reservations regarding the move, there are factions that believe that Israel is stolen Arab land, while other factions believe that a two-state solution is the best prospect for peace. This idea is perplexing, since we have historical precedent for the opposite effect. Israel pulled out of Gaza completely in 2005, making that area a de facto Palestinian state, and since then, there have been endless attacks from Hamas and multiple wars. Why should we believe that giving the Palestinian Authority control of the West Bank, an area much larger and more resourceful, would breed different results, especially since they openly claim Israel should not exist?
Luckily, whether you support Trump or don’t, it is difficult to deny that Trump is a breed of president our country has not seen in a long time. He has no compunctions provoking people, and doing what he thinks is right, no matter the consequences. While much of his seemingly arrogant attitude, tweets, and many of his populist policies bother both conservatives and liberals alike, on this embassy move Trump is spot-on. He has much support from Congress for his plan as well, from Senator and former presidential candidate Ted Cruz to Senator Lindsey Graham, two senators who rarely agree on much.
I pray and believe that the 1995 Jerusalem Embassy Act will, at last, be supported by our new President, and the US Embassy will finally be in its rightful place in Israel, in its true capital, Jerusalem.Tags: Donald Trump Israel