01/11/2017

Trump Reportedly Moves Ahead With Plans To Relocate U.S. Embassy To Jerusalem

Jacob Kornbluh, Jewish Journal

The incoming White House team has already begun informing U.S. allies in the Middle East and Gulf about President-elect Donald Trump’s plan to move the U.S. Embassy from Tel Aviv to Jerusalem, according to a report by CNN.

The Jerusalem Embassy Act, passed in 1995, stated that “the United States Embassy in Israel should be established in Jerusalem no later than May 31, 1999.” An inbuilt waiver authority allowed the president to postpone the move, in the interests of “national security,” for six-monthly periods. Presidents Bill Clinton, George W. Bush and Obama have all issued waivers at six-month intervals ever since. The last waiver was issued on December 1, 2016.

In his address to AIPAC last March, Trump promised to “move the American embassy to the eternal capital of the Jewish people, Jerusalem.” In a position paper on Israel, released six days before the election, Trump’s advisors, David Friedman and Jason Greenblatt – both of who were appointed to positions that will deal with the matter – suggested that even before negotiations take place between Israel and the Palestinians, “the U.S. will recognize Jerusalem as the eternal and indivisible capital of the Jewish state and move the U.S. embassy to Jerusalem.”

Outgoing Secretary of State John Kerry and the Palestinian Authority recently warned Trump about the high price the U.S. would pay if it moves ahead with the plan to relocate the embassy. Senior Palestinian officials have warned that the Palestine Liberation Organisation’s 1993 recognition of Israel is in danger of being revoked if Trump moves ahead with the embassy relocation. In a letter sent to Trump, President Mahmoud Abbas warned that moving the embassy “will likely have [a] disastrous impact on the peace process, on the two-state solution and on the stability and security of the entire region, since Israel’s decision to annex East Jerusalem contradicts with international law.”

But according to several media reports, Trump is determined to follow through on his campaign promise, albeit a specific date has not been revealed.

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