Jerusalem Embassy - The ISIS dream.
President Trump has revived the call to move our Embassy from Tel Aviv to Jerusalem. As in the past, there are voices coming out opposing the move. The original reasons for locating in Tel Aviv were practical and twofold: security after the 1948 Arab Israeli war, and the fact that the Israeli government was initially located in Tel Aviv. But then the Israelis moved their government to Jerusalem and, for the most part, security was established in the land. Our Embassy, however, stayed in Tel Aviv.
Then we would not move because it would undercut the “Peace Process.” But there is no peace process today.
Even so, we have stayed in Tel Aviv and told ourselves that moving the Embassy would provoke Arab anger at the US and undermine America’s status as an ‘honest broker.’
Our “honest broker” status was debunked in Arab eyes a long time ago. In 2000, after the collapse of the Camp David talks, I was asked by the Palestinian negotiators why President Clinton always took the side of the Israelis. If that is what they think about America then the question is: “why not move the Embassy to Jerusalem?”
A final argument for opposing the move of our badly decaying Embassy, is equally thin. Because Jerusalem’s ultimate status can only be determined by agreement between Israel and the Palestinians, it would be wrong, according to this argument, for the US to ‘prejudge’ the outcome by acting on the truth that Israel’s capital is Jerusalem.
When I was our Ambassador in Israel in 1998, I thought it was myopic for US to uphold a Jerusalem “principal” that had no foundation in logic, the real world, or the facts on the ground. And I haven’t changed my mind since.
Whatever the peace might include, if one is to come, Israel’s Capital will still be Jerusalem. Moving our Embassy to the Western part of Jerusalem will not prejudge the existence, the capital, or the borders of a hypothetical Palestinian state. Nevertheless, it is not time for us, to make the move now.
Not yet - at least not if our objective, as the President has stated, is to defeat terrorism. Moving our Embassy will inflame the Arab street, weaken our allies in the Arab world, starting with Jordan, and put a target on the back of every American in the region. Right now we are winning the war on terrorist organizations - but not for long if we poison the well by relocating our Embassy. This move would be the answer to the terrorists prayers, swelling the ranks of terrorist recruits and giving new life to the charge that America is the enemy of Islam.