President Trump's 'tactless decision' to Move US Embassy in Israel

The Prime Minister of Great Britain.

The Secretary General of the United Nations.

The President of France.

The Foreign Minister of Australia.

9 Former United States Ambassadors to Israel.

The Pope.

What do all these people have in common? They, and so many others, have decried Trump’s tactless decision to officially recognize Jerusalem as the capital of Israel and move the U.S. embassy from Tel Aviv to Jerusalem.

Trump’s decision to move the embassy to Jerusalem was due in large part to promises he made to wealthy donors during the campaign. In exchange for campaign funds that propelled him to the presidency last November, Trump traded in American leadership abroad, stability in the Middle East, and nearly 70 years of American diplomacy.

In 1995, Congress passed the Jerusalem Embassy Act into law, which called for the State Department to move the U.S. embassy to Jerusalem from Tel Aviv unless the president determined that the national security risks were too great. Every six months since 1995, the Presidents of three separate administrations (and both political parties) have signed a waiver preventing that dangerous move - until this week.

The issue surrounding Jerusalem is incredibly complicated and nuanced, much like the Israel-Palestine conflict itself. Not only do the Palestinians claim parts of the city as their own capital, but the city holds immense spiritual value for Christians, Jews, and Muslims across the world.

While Jerusalem has served as the functioning capital of Israel since its establishment in 1948, the U.S. and the majority of the international community have until now maintained that Jerusalem is a crucial component of a two-state solution to the Israel-Palestine conflict. By recognizing Jerusalem as the Israeli capital, the United States has irreversibly damaged its ability to remain a neutral facilitator of peace talks and effectively precluded the possibility of a two-state solution altogether, according to Palestinian leadership.

Trump’s decision, emphatically supported by Jim Jordan, wasn’t smart and it wasn’t necessary. Israel would have remained a vital and committed U.S. ally, regardless of U.S. recognition of Jerusalem or the location of our embassy. Trump’s reckless, politically motivated move demonstrates his inability to grasp the intricacies of global politics and heed the advice of experienced diplomats and policy experts.

By ignoring the advice of experts and advancing their own political agendas instead, President Trump and Jim Jordan are damaging America’s international reputation, alienating leaders in the Middle East, prohibiting the U.S. from being an effective peace broker, and destabilizing the entire region in the process.

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Zach Wehrli is Janet Garrett for Congress's foreign policy advisor

Zach WehrliComment