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Um . . . recognition of Jerusalem as Israel's capital has been U.S. law since 1995
Bill Clinton signed the Jerusalem Embassy Act into law, but every president since then has delayed implementation. All Trump is doing is putting actions in line with official policy.
The headlines over the past 24 hours have screamed that Donald Trump is breaking big time with U.S. policy with his reported decision to recognize Jerusalem as the capital of Israel. Aside from the fact that the president can't break with U.S. policy because he's the one who makes the policy, Trump is doing no such thing. What Trump does that infuriates the Beltway crowd is actually do things that other politicians only say they're going to do.
In fact, it is official U.S. policy to recognize Jerusalem as the capital of Israel and has been for 22 years, thanks to an act signed into law by none other than Bill Clinton:
For 70 years, the U.S. embassy has been based in Tel Aviv -- along with embassies of almost all other countries with relations to Israel -- because the U.S. has wanted Israeli-Palestinian peace negotiations to determine the final status of Jerusalem. The United Nations' original partition plan from 1947 on Palestine called for Jerusalem to be an international city. The U.S. government, as a result, does not officially recognize Jerusalem as Israel's capital.
Efforts to move the embassy from the coast of Tel Aviv to the holy city have surfaced periodically since at least the early 1980s. President Reagan and his secretary of state, George Shultz, were against the move. Lawmakers later passed the Jerusalem Embassy Act in 1995, signed into law by President Clinton, which authorized the U.S. to move the embassy to Jerusalem by 1999 with one caveat -- the president could indefinitely delay the move by signing a waiver, citing national security concerns. In June, Mr. Trump signed the waiver for the first time in his presidency, delaying a move of the embassy to Jerusalem.
Politicians often try to give the appearance of taking an action while actually having no serious intention of doing what they pretend to be doing. Clinton may well have been trying to pander to American Jews when he signed that bill into law. But he signed it nonetheless, and the law makes clear that the U.S. does as a matter of official policy consider Jerusalem to be Israel's true capital.
Now, the professional diplomat crowd never wants to stir up any hornet's nests, and the Middle East is nothing but that. One president after another has gotten cold feet on supporting Israel's true security needs out of a quixotic desire to broker a "Middle East peace agreement" that never seems to come. And it never comes because the Palestinians and the larger Arab/Muslim world absolutely do not want peace with Israel. They want to destroy Israel. Yet American presidents constantly try mollify them so as not to disturb the "peace process."
Trump also talked about the desire to achieve such a deal, and tasked his son-in-law Jared Kushner to lead the effort. But unlike his predecessors, Trump has apparently decided there is a better chance at getting a deal that meets Israel's needs if America stops bending over backwards for Israel's enemies and starts actually backing our ally. If that causes the Palestinians and others to claim we're not "honest brokers" because we're too pro-Israel, fine. We should be pro-Israel, and they're not honest brokers either when they're constantly launching terrorist attacks onto Israeli territory. You want to call spades spades here? Let's do.
These same Palestinian/Arab/Muslim leaders are already declaring that this move would cross a "red line" and lead to violence and war. Unlike what? The Middle East status quo of peace, hearts and flowers? If they launch violent attacks in response to the siting of an embassy, then they're the ones who want war.
It's about time the United States showed some real courage in backing our Israeli friends. And it's hard to take seriously the threats of people who have been committing acts of murder and violence all along. But don't let anyone tell you Trump is breaking from U.S. policy. He's doing exactly the opposite. He's finally putting U.S. policy into practice, unlike certain presidents whose names I think you know.
Dan's new novel, BACKSTOP, is a story of spiritual warfare and baseball. Download it from Amazon here!