It has long been speculated that President-elect Donald Trump would move the U.S. embassy in Israel from Tel Aviv to Jerusalem in recognition of that city historically being the capital of the Jewish nation.
According to a report from CNN, it appeared as though that move was just about to happen, as the incoming Trump team has reportedly informed allies in the region that they were pushing ahead with the move despite an outcry from Arab and Muslim nations.
Officials in Israel have speculated that the move could happen as early as May 24 — the Israeli “Jerusalem Day” holiday that celebrates the reunification of the city following the 1967 Six Day War that saw Israel effectively push back a coordinated attack by several Arab nations in the region.
The Jerusalem Post reported that Palestinian Authority President Mahmoud Abbas sent a letter to Trump urging him not to go through with his plan to move the embassy, citing potential “consequences.”
“The president asked the American president-elect to not take this step (moving the embassy), as it will have destructive consequences on the peace process, the two-state solution and the safety and security of the region,” read a paraphrased portion of the letter as reported by the official PA news outlet Wafa.
The probable move was also criticized by outgoing Secretary of State John Kerry, who claimed that the planned relocation of the embassy to Jerusalem would cause “an absolute explosion in the region.”
The Associated Press checked into what some of those “consequences” could be and what exactly an “absolute explosion” in the region would look like if the embassy were moved, and while some of the controversy may be overblown, there could be some serious ramifications if emotions are permitted to rule.
Palestinians would of course be upset, as they claim Jerusalem as their own capital and would view the U.S. embassy being moved there as recognition of Israel’s claim to the city. They have essentially threatened to end all negotiations regarding a peaceful solution to the issue, have intimated that further attacks could be forthcoming, and insinuated that they would shift the entire financial burden for all Palestinians back to the Israeli government.
The nation of Jordan, which serves as a sort of custodian over the sacred Islamic sites in Jerusalem and the West Bank, warned that moving the embassy would be crossing a “red line” that would inflame the Arab and Muslim world and expressed worries that such a move would undermine its efforts at maintaining peaceful relations and alliances with both Israel and the U.S.
Other Arab and Muslim nations, speaking through representatives of the Arab League and Organization of Islamic Cooperation, said the move would be a “huge setback” to the potential “two-state solution” peace process and were hopeful that Trump will reconsider the move so as not to upset their Muslim populations.
Regardless, by all accounts Trump appeared to be serious about making good on his campaign promise to recognize Jerusalem as the capital of Israel by moving the U.S. embassy there, and we are fully in support of that move.
As for the threats of consequences and repercussions for the move, while they may be serious, it is difficult to place much stock in them, given the extreme opposition to the very existence of Israel by many Arab and Muslim nations and the fact that they won’t be satisfied until the entire country and its population are wiped off the face of the earth, no matter where the capital or the embassies of allies are located.
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