During last year’s presidential campaign, one of then-candidate Donald Trump’s promises was that he would move the United States Embassy in Israel from Tel Aviv to the country’s capital in Jerusalem.
This is a promise that other Presidents have made, and then conveniently forgotten about after being elected.
Not this one.
From Justin Fishel and Jordyn Phelps’ article for ABC News:
In a momentous shift of United States foreign policy in the Middle East, President Donald Trump is set to officially recognize Jerusalem as the capital of Israel on Wednesday and initiate the process of relocating the U.S. embassy to the city from Tel Aviv, according to senior administration officials.
The president is expected to officially announce the policy changes in remarks at the White House at 1pm on Wednesday.
A U.S. official and a source close to the White House told ABC News that official recognition of Jerusalem as the capital is expected to be intentionally broad and not meant to preclude the possibility that the Palestinians could claim part of the historic city as a capital of a future Palestinian state. The president does not want to “prejudice” the outcome of any future peace negotiations for a two-state solution, one source familiar with the plan told ABC News.
Let’s get rid of the inaccurate reporting up-front: this is not a momentous shift in United States foreign policy, it is a recognition of it. The United States formally recognized Jerusalem as Israel’s capital city 1n 1995. It then ignored that policy through 22 years and three presidents. Donald Trump, therefore, is doing nothing other than recognizing what is already in place.
And, it seems apparent, the USA is not acting as a maverick among nations: based on a report at i24 News, a number of African nations may quickly follow suit.
My opinion? It’s about time. I congratulate President Trump for having the courage to do what should have been done a long time ago, and for keeping another of his campaign promises.
Oh, one more thing: at the beginning of this blog I excerpted the ABC article on this move, which, other than the foreign policy wording, appears to be fair, neutral reporting.
Here is how the New York Times – never a friend of Israel’s and certainly not a friend of Trump’s – positioned it:
President Trump plans to recognize Jerusalem as the capital of Israel and move the American Embassy there, upending nearly seven decades of American foreign policy and potentially destroying his efforts to broker peace between Israel and the Palestinians.
Mr. Trump’s decision, a high-risk foray into the thicket of the Middle East, was driven not by diplomatic calculations but by a campaign promise. He appealed to evangelicals and ardently pro-Israel American Jews in 2016 by vowing to move the embassy, and advisers said on Tuesday he was determined to make good on his word.
In other words, this upends foreign policy rather than confirming it, is destructive to brokering a peace deal between Israel and Palestinian Arabs who have rejected every peace deal since Israel was created, and is not a diplomatic move, just a payoff to evangelicals and Jews.
Make of it what you will.