Much of what Donald Trump said on the campaign trail was a lie. Where moving the US Embassy in Israel from Tel Aviv to Jerusalem is concerned, he was apparently telling the truth. Not only has Kellyanne Conway said the move is a “big priority” but Haaretz reports that,
“Top city officials in Jerusalem, Mayor Nir Barkat and his deputy Meir Turgeman say they have been contacted by American parties to find a suitable location to build an American embassy in Jerusalem…”
Conway said on the Hugh Hewitt show,
“That is a very big priority for this president-elect, Donald Trump. He made that very clear during the campaign, Hugh. And as president-elect, I’ve heard him repeat it several times privately, if not publicly.”
The mayor of Jerusalem is happy and so is Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu who said such a move would be “great.” Literally:
“Regarding the idea of opening the US Embassy to Jerusalem, I will respond to this in one word: Great.”
One has to wonder if what Trump has in mind is a shining Trump Tower as a symbol of his resolve, but a new building is not actually necessary, reports Haaretz:
However, city planning officials shrug that there’s no need to build anything new to house the embassy in the Israeli capital: The Americans built a big new consulate in the Jerusalem neighborhood of Arnona, which had been planned in advance to be converted into the actual embassy one day. All the Americans need to do is change the sign on the door, they say.
Barkat, speaking a day later, told the Associated Press Tuesday that though other candidates have made similar promises, “Naturally my intuition tells me that it’s different this time, knowing the people hearing his statements, where we are today.”
“The United States of America has embassies in all of the world’s capitals with the exception of Israel. That’s absurd, and moving the embassy to the capital of the Jewish people, to Jerusalem, is a straightforward, standard thing to do.”
Except it isn’t.
Standard yes, but there is nothing straightforward about it: Jerusalem is no ordinary city, but a city claimed by both Palestinians and Jews, and if Jews want Jerusalem to be their capital, Palestinians see the eastern half of the city to be the capital of any future Palestinian state.
Shifting the embassy to Jerusalem would also break with decades of US foreign policy, which has amounted, the State Department says, to supporting “Israel against internal and external threats, while simultaneously encouraging a peaceful resolution to its conflicts with both Arabs and Palestinians.”
Not that Trump seems to care about accepted norms. Or, however much he claims to the contrary, seeking a resolution to conflicts. In moving the embassy to Jerusalem, he is openly and purposefully creating conflict.
Palestinian politician finds himself in the same territory as another embattled minority, the Standing Rock Sioux, saying he was “shocked.”
“If the US takes such a decision, it will not only be violating international law, but violating a unanimously respected international principle that no country can annex another’s territory by force.”
A principal being eagerly ignored by Republicans here at home. It would be surprising if they respected it anywhere else.
Photo: US Department of State
Hrafnkell Haraldsson, a social liberal with leanings toward centrist politics has degrees in history and philosophy. His interests include, besides history and philosophy, human rights issues, freedom of choice, religion, and the precarious dichotomy of freedom of speech and intolerance. He brings a slightly different perspective to his writing, being that he is neither a follower of an Abrahamic faith nor an atheist but a polytheist, a modern-day Heathen who follows the customs and traditions of his Norse ancestors. He maintains his own blog, A Heathen’s Day, which deals with Heathen and Pagan matters, and Mos Maiorum Foundation www.mosmaiorum.org, dedicated to ethnic religion. He has also contributed to NewsJunkiePost, GodsOwnParty and Pagan+Politics.