Trump’s not moving the embassy, and AIPAC and Netanyahu are disappointed

US Politics
on 20 Comments

This morning the White House announced that the president has again waived the law passed by Congress in 1995 calling on him to move the US Embassy to Jerusalem. The White House said he did so in order to advance the hopes of a peace deal.

While President Donald J. Trump signed the waiver under the Jerusalem Embassy Act and delayed moving the U.S. Embassy in Israel from Tel Aviv to Jerusalem, no one should consider this step to be in any way a retreat from the President’s strong support for Israel and for the United States-Israel alliance. President Trump made this decision to maximize the chances of successfully negotiating a deal between Israel and the Palestinians, fulfilling his solemn obligation to defend America’s national security interests. But, as he has repeatedly stated his intention to move the embassy, the question is not if that move happens, but only when.

Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu is said to be “disappointed.” The Jerusalem Post says Netanyahu made a last gasp for the move:

Netanyahu spoke to US Ambassador David Friedman on Monday in a final and apparently futile attempt to persuade US President Donald Trump to fulfill his campaign promise and move the US embassy from Tel Aviv to Jerusalem, The Jerusalem Post has learned.

The Israel lobby group AIPAC is also disappointed:

We are disappointed that the president has not yet followed through on his pledge to move the embassy, and we hope that he does so soon.

Not many rightwing groups have issued statements. Today is a Jewish holiday, Shavuot.

Brad Jaffy from NBC News is among many unsurprised by the action:

Bill Clinton and George W. Bush both broke the same campaign promise as Trump. The reality of trying to negotiate a peace deal sets in.

Daniel Shapiro, Obama’s ambassador to Israel, says the U.S. should move the embassy later this year.

Trump was right to issue the Jerusalem embassy waiver today. But I hope it’s the last waiver, allowing the move later this year.

That will depend on preparing the ground: get I-P talks launched, get Arabs 2 put skin in the game. Use leverage 2 get all sides to play.

Why should we move the embassy? To shatter the “Pal myth,” Shapiro says:

Then establish the embassy in W Jerusalem. Shatter Pal myth that Israel has no Jerusalem claims & treat Jerusalem as the capital it is.

(Remember that Dan Shapiro is a committed Zionist— “this miracle, this gift, this jewel” — now working for an Israeli security thinktank. Some revolving door.)

 

Here is an earlier report by the US Campaign for Palestinian Rights describing years of U.S. policy against recognizing Jerusalem as the Israeli capital, and explaining that moving the embassy would legitimize ethnic cleansing of Palestinians from Jerusalem.

The liberal Zionist group J Street welcomed the decision, saying that while “Jerusalem is absolutely central to the history, culture and identity of the Jewish people,” it would be dangerous to move the embassy:

We are glad that the administration has heeded the advice of veteran officials in the diplomatic and security communities, and decided to maintain the prudent policy of its predecessors on this issue.

John Reed of the Financial Times comments:

The embassy non-move was so predictable that J Street sent out an embargoed press release welcoming it yesterday

Shapiro’s hopes spring eternal. The Israeli member of Knesset who took a selfie with Benjamin Netanyahu says he dreams of doing it again, in the Jerusalem embassy. From the JPost:

MK : I dont regret getting the selfie, but I hope this isnt bad omen. I hope in future I’ll take selfie w him in Jerusalem embassy

Former Israeli ambassador Michael Oren said two days ago that the U.S. refusal to move the embassy is “inexplicable and prejudicial” and “really insane.” The Arab world won’t go up in flames if you move the Embassy, he said. “The president would have strengthened his hand in negotiation had he moved the embassy.” Because this is the Middle East, and people only respect strength and commitments. (Not that anyone can trust Oren’s judgment on any such thing.)

About Philip Weiss

Philip Weiss is Founder and Co-Editor of Mondoweiss.net.

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20 Responses

  1. John O
    June 1, 2017, 12:57 pm

    Look – if you’re gonna put out bad news for someone, do it when it will be overwhelmed by some other story. I.e. at the same time you make your announcement on the Paris Accords on climate change.

  2. Annie Robbins
    June 1, 2017, 4:47 pm

    get Arabs 2 put skin in the game

    what more can they give? seriously, what a joke.

    • gamal
      June 1, 2017, 5:57 pm

      “what a joke.”

      but what colour skin they don’t say, will we have to guess?

      • Mooser
        June 1, 2017, 9:41 pm

        Judging by the replies, I missed a comment I’m not sorry to miss.

      • JLewisDickerson
        June 5, 2017, 2:21 am

        FROM WEISS’ POST ABOVE [FIFTH PARAGRAPH (NOT COUNTING BLOCKQUOTES):

        Daniel Shapiro, Obama’s ambassador to Israel, says the U.S. should move the embassy later this year.

        Trump was right to issue the Jerusalem embassy waiver today. But I hope it’s the last waiver, allowing the move later this year.
        That will depend on preparing the ground: get I-P talks launched, get Arabs 2 put skin in the game. Use leverage 2 get all sides to play.

    • JLewisDickerson
      June 1, 2017, 6:14 pm

      RE: “what more can they give?” ~ Annie Robbins

      MY REPLY: They can recognise Israeli sovereignty over the Golan Heights so Netanyahu and Israel can get the benefit of all of that oil!

      • Citizen
        June 2, 2017, 4:48 am

        How many times has the Israeli Air Force bombed Assad assets in the last couple of years? How many Israeli settlers live in Golan Heights? How many natives removed?

    • hophmi
      June 2, 2017, 8:47 am

      Is your question serious? LOL. What skin do Arab countries have in the game? They’re very satisfied with the status quo. The Palestinians, whom the Arabs all hate, continue to not have a state, and the Israelis, whom the Arabs hate almost as much, continue to be held responsible for it.

      • Mooser
        June 2, 2017, 12:37 pm

        “The Palestinians, whom the Arabs all hate…”

        Ah, there’s nothing quite like “Hophmi” when he goes into ‘outreach’ mode.

        “and the Israelis, whom the Arabs hate almost as much”

        “Almost as much”.

      • Misterioso
        June 2, 2017, 4:40 pm

        hophmi

        Obviously, you have not lived in the Arab world. As one who did for five years, I can assure you that the “Arabs” , i.e., the Arab people, do not “hate” the Palestinians. Indeed, they support the Palestinians wholeheartedly in their entirely justified struggle against Israel’s belligerent, illegal and brutal occupation. Needless to say, however, there are Arab “leaders” such as Egypt’s Sisi and the Saudi royal family who contrary to the what their people want, kowtow to the US and look the other way.

        Surely, it should not come as a surprise that the “Arab street” detests Israel for its criminal dispossession and oppression of Arab Palestinians, the indigenous inhabitants of historic Palestine.

      • talknic
        June 3, 2017, 12:37 am

        @ hophmi June 2, 2017, 8:47 am

        ” The Palestinians, whom the Arabs all hate, continue to not have a state, and the Israelis, whom the Arabs hate almost as much, continue to be held responsible for i”

        A) So that’s why the Arab States fought numerous wars on behalf of Palestine
        B) Gave them refuge at enormous cost for 69 years

        You have some interesting bullsh*t!

        Palestine is already a state. It has observer status at the UN and has been recognized by the majority of the International Comity of Nations. What Palestine now seeks is independence from Israeli occupation for which there is no legal, moral, ethical or practical reason for Israel to continue.

  3. inbound39
    June 2, 2017, 7:30 am

    All that remains now is for Trump to be prepared to muster the fortitude to hold the continuance of aid over Israel in order to get Israel’s compliance and obligation to International Law and ALL previously signed agreements pertaining to the Occupation. If he does that then he will ensure success of his “ultimate deal”. Without it we will simply see another Encore Performance of the long running tragedy ‘Peace Process”.

  4. hophmi
    June 2, 2017, 8:48 am

    The disappointment is for show. No one asked Trump to actually move the embassy, and no one really expected it to happen. It’s easier for Netanyahu if it doesn’t happen.

  5. David Gerald Fincham
    June 2, 2017, 9:43 am

    “Jerusalem is absolutely central to the history, culture and identity of the Jewish people” says J Street. Absolutely correct, and no educated person, Palestinian or otherwise, would deny it.

    But the State of Israel is not the same thing as the Jewish people. That is the point that we should constantly emphasize.

    The Declaration of the State of Israel does not mention Jerusalem. On 14 May 1948 Israel declared its borders to be those specified in the UN Plan of Partition with Economic Union. Jerusalem is outside those borders. Israel’s Declaration said it is based “on the strength of the UN resolution (UNGAR 181, the Plan of Partition). In the Plan Jerusalem was to be internationalized, not part of either the Jewish or the Arab State.

    Israel gained de facto sovereignty over West Jerusalem in the 1948-49 war. There was no peace agreement at the end of that war, so Israel’s de facto sovereignty has not been legalized. Israel gained military control of East Jerusalem in the 1967 war. East Jerusalem is outside the 1949 Armistice Line, and so part of the occupied West Bank territory from which Israeli forces are required to withdraw under UNSCR 242.

    Israel’s peace treaty with Jordan did not pass Jordanian sovereignty over the West Bank to Israel. Jordan held the territory in trust for the Palestinian people who have a right to self-determination within mandatory Palestine. In 1988 Jordan passed its sovereignty over the West Bank to the PLO as representatives of the Palestinians. Since the 1988 declaration and international recognition of the State of Palestine, with Jerusalem as its capital, legal sovereignty over the West Bank, including East Jerusalem, belongs to the State of Palestine.

    The State of Israel does not have legal sovereignty over any part of Jerusalem.

    • Mooser
      June 2, 2017, 12:35 pm

      “Jerusalem is absolutely central to the history, culture and identity of the Jewish people says” J Street. Absolutely correct,”

      Absolutely correct, if you are talking about a mythical “Jewish people” as envisioned for the purposes of J Street. Completely absurd, if you are talking about actual Jewish persons.

    • Keith
      June 2, 2017, 8:41 pm

      DAVID GERALD FINCHAM- ““Jerusalem is absolutely central to the history, culture and identity of the Jewish people” says J Street. Absolutely correct, and no educated person, Palestinian or otherwise, would deny it.”

      What interesting phraseology. Apparently you feel that only uneducated rubes disagree with you? Putting that aside, are you talking about the metaphysical Jerusalem of Judeo-Zionist mythology, or the real physical Jerusalem? While the metaphysical Jerusalem of Jewish mythology may have been central to the identity of Jews, it is only recently that the actual, physical Jerusalem has been central to Zionist Jews. When the first couple of waves of Zionist Jews settled in historic Palestine, they pretty much ignored the primitive backwater of the real Jerusalem in favor of the amenities of Tel Aviv. No surprise that these mostly atheists weren’t as enamored of the Judaic mythology as you apparently are. Back then, Zionism was mostly the Jewish version Eastern European Blood and Soil ideology. The Judaization of Zionism took a while.

  6. James Canning
    June 2, 2017, 2:04 pm

    Daniel Shapiro is well aware the Palestinians accept the Green Line as the border dividing Jerusalem between Palestine and Israel. His claim to the contrary is rubbish.

    • echinococcus
      June 2, 2017, 6:26 pm

      A little precision, please, Canning. Not “the Palestinians”. The US/Zionist puppet administration.

  7. NABNYC
    June 3, 2017, 5:34 pm

    Trump is not ideological. His sole motive in running for president was to use the office to get money. Jared and Ivanka are his bagmen, and Bannon and Miller are the muscle. But Trump is not ideological. The only thing on his mind is how to use a situation to shake down people for money. So on this issue, for example, Trump says he’ll do it, but then he says maybe not now. I’m guessing that the bagmen pick up the phone and call Jewish big-money supporters like Sheldon Adelson, probably call Bibi Netanyahu, and tell them that if they want the embassy moved it will cost them tens or millions of dollars. Paris Accord: same deal. He says not now, while major corporations are begging him to stay in. I’m assuming Trump’s bagmen pick up the phone and tell the heads of these corporations to put together an enormous pile of money and give that to Trump, or “invest” it with Trump/Kushner, and then Trump will put the U.S. back into the Paris deal. Every single thing he does is unrelated to ideology except possibly the deportation of unauthorized migrants. Other than that: he’s in a shakedown mode and intends to leave office much richer than he came in. Like most recent presidents. And finally, ask yourself what happens if he cannot repay all the Russian Mob money that he has borrowed, the next time there is a downturn. He won’t get relief from that debt from a bankruptcy court. So I would say this is his last-ditch effort to collect money to pay off the mob. Which means he may be both desperate and reckless. That’s the man with his hand on the red button.

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