President Donald Trump officially announced that the U.S. would now recognize Jerusalem as the capital of Israel. A move that will eventually move the U.S. embassy from Tel Aviv.
While Arab foreign ministers criticized the President’s decision, the U.S. Ambassador to the United Nations Nikki Haley defended it and said that time will eventually show that it was the best move for the U.S.
“When it comes to those that are upset, we knew that was going to happen. But courage does cause that. When you make a decision, you’re going have some that see it negatively, and you’re going to have some that see it positively,” said Haley on CNN’s State of the Union. “But I strongly believe this is going to move the ball forward for the peace process.”
“Jerusalem, the eastern part of which was annexed from Jordan by Israel in 1967, has long been a sticking point in peace negotiations in the region — one on which past U.S. administrations avoided taking sides. Palestinians would almost certainly seek to establish East Jerusalem as their capital as part of any two-state peace agreement,” writes Politico. “Haley argued that by recognizing Jerusalem as Israel’s capital, a move long sought by the Israeli government, the U.S. had removed from the table a contentious point, allowing Israeli-Palestinian peace negotiations to press forward on other issues.”
The Arab League called for Trump to reverse the decision and said that the move is a “dangerous violation of international law.”
“It’s a dangerous development that places the United States at a position of bias in favor of the occupation and the violation of international law and resolutions,” wrote the Arab League after an emergency meeting with 22 Arab foreign ministers.
“The two-page resolution called for the United Nations Security Council to adopt a resolution that would condemn Trump’s decision, in addition to announcing the possibility of an emergency Arab summit to be held in Jordan to discuss the issue,” writes The Hill. “The ministers also stopped short of calling for taking action against the U.S. and acknowledged that the U.S. would most likely veto the resolution in the security council.”
Some Western allies have also disapproved of the decision, but Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu defended Trump’s move. He also pointed out that most of these European leaders aren’t condemning the violence that ignited in response.
“I hear [from Europe] voices of condemnation over President Trump’s historic announcement but I have not heard any condemnation for the rocket firing against Israel that has come [after the announcement] and the awful incitement against us,” said Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu.
On Sunday, protesters gathered near the U.S. Embassy in Lebanon in response to Trump’s decision.
“Addressing the protesters, the head of the Lebanese Communist Party Hanna Gharib declared the United States “the enemy of Palestine” and the U.S. Embassy “a symbol of imperialist aggression” that must be closed,” writes Newsmax.
Vice President Mike Pence was scheduled to meet with the leader of Egypt’s Coptic Church and Palestinian leader Mahmoud Abbas later this month, but both canceled the meetings following the recent violent protests across the Middle East.
However, the U.S. Secretary of State Rex Tillerson believes these reactions have been overblown.
“The reality is, as you wake up today after this announcement, is nothing is different, other than the president has now implemented the 1995 law,” said Tillerson.
He also said that the U.S. still has a lot of work to do to relocate the embassy.
Author’s note: It’s not surprising that there are protests and violence in response to this decision. But Israel is still getting hit by missiles on a daily basis and there has been no progress made in this area for many years. Trump is changing the game. He is setting up negotiating positions and getting ready to engage. This move also is how he is showing support for Israel, unlike our previous president.