Before I go any further, I am reporting, with 100% assurance, that the “waiver” President Trump mentioned in his “Jerusalem Speech” – to keep the U.S. Embassy from moving to Jerusalem – signed by every president since 1995 – has been signed, again, by President Donald J. Trump.
The U.S. Embassy will not be moving from Tel Aviv to Jerusalem for at least three or four years.
President Trump’s speech today, on its face, was clear, concise and nuanced to give both his base of support, and hopefully, the Palestinians reason to be hopeful.
However, protests broke out in Jordan’s capital, Amman, inhabited by Palestinian refugees, shortly after the speech. Three days of rage have been announced by Palestinians and their supporting partners starting immediately.
70 years after the announcement of the independence of the State of Israel – May 14, 1948 – the State of Israel continues to struggle for recognition and the Palestinians marginalzed, victimized and feeling displaced. Whether or not we agree or not, the facts remain: The Palestinians want East Jerusalem and full control of the Temple Mount, always and forever.
Nothing in the argument of statehood and solution is easy – the road to peace is paved with doubt and hope, sometimes in the same day.
Make no mistake, this was a step forward today, but Americans must know fully what President Trump’s actions mean, and don’t mean.
Every six months for more than two decades, U.S. presidents have had to decide all over again whether to move the U.S. embassy in Israel from Tel Aviv to Jerusalem. Since the Clinton administration, they decided each time to keep the embassy where it is, seeking not to throw a wrench into delicate Middle East peace talks.
The passage of the 1995 JERUSALEM EMBASSY ACT requires the U.S. to move the embassy from Tel Aviv to Jerusalem by a set deadline, but conceded that the move could be put off in six months intervals depending on the progress of the Israeli-Arab peace process — which has gone from hope (Oslo) to despair.
Let’s go back to the SIX-DAY WAR:
Prior to the Six-Day War, Jerusalem was divided (per 1949 Armistice Agreement) into East Jerusalem governed by Jordan and West Jerusalem governed by Israel.
Israel won the Six-Day War of June 1967 and took control of Jerusalem. Jerusalem before 1967 was considered an “international city.” War changed the “international” to Israeli city.
(Photo: Israeli paratroopers Western Wall after capture Six-Day War. Photo Credit: Wiki Photos)
Final status of Jerusaelm has been part of the negotiation between Israel and Palestinians.
The Two-State Solution is to have East Jerusalem the Capital of the Palestinians. In fact, President Trump mentioned in his speech today that he is not abandoning the Two-State Solution goal.
Photo of Israeli troops entering the Old City after winning the battle to reunite Jerusalem, Six-Day War.
The defeat of Egypt, Syrian and Jordanian armies were decisive.
Israeli troops roared into Jerusalem as the Six-Day War was coming to a conclusion. The surviving remnant of the Temple Mount in Jerusalem, which was destroyed by the Romans in 70CE was seen for the first time by Jews in June 1967, eighteen after the armistice which gave the Old City control to the Jordanians.
The Moshe Dayan Decision That Continues To Haunt:
Elie Wiesel wrote that after Israel pushed the Jordanians off the Temple Mount in the Six-Day War, he said to Yitzhak Rabin, “Do you realize the import of what you’ve just accomplished?” and Rabin said, “No.” ..and as commander of Israeli Forces, Dayan handed over the Temple Mount back to the control of the Jordanian — in an effort of good faith.
..and there you have it. The struggle and the status of Jerusalem.
Yet again, a U.S. President signed the WAIVER for another six months, but he did so declaring the U.S. recognition that Jeruslaem is the capital of the Jewish State.
As one Israeli said to me by phone this morning, “Lisa, as important as recognizing Jerusalem is for the Jewish diaspora, we Jerusalem-ites would like to see a high speed rail system from Jerusalem to Tel Aviv so we can conduct business effectively. We Jews will take the brunt of this action and pay the price with our blood for this recognition.”
There you have it…
The nuanced speech by Donald Trump served purposes, but the test of time, and the cost for doing so, are the unknown.
It’s a good first step if the cost is not paid in Israeli blood.
Lisa E. Benson
Foreign Policy/National Security, Analyst, Broadcaster, Commentator, Public Speaker
Blogger, “The Times of Israel”
CEO, The Queen Esther Project
Senior Editor: “Humanity Speaks”