May 13, 2018
Keeping the U.S. embassy an hour away in Tel Aviv was a signal that the United States would not prejudge competing Israeli and Palestinian claims to land and sites in the holy city. Palestinian leaders called the embassy move a betrayal and an abdication of the U.S. role as a neutral broker in the Israeli-Palestinian conflict.
Trump’s decision to open Jerusalem embassy complicates promise to seek peace
U.S. President Donald Trump has been telling friendly audiences that he is proudly fulfilling a campaign promise with the opening of the U.S. Embassy in Jerusalem and that his real estate savvy is already saving the taxpayers a buck on the new location.
A campaign rally crowd gave Trump lengthy applause when he said the new embassy will open Monday — and on the cheap.
“I said, ‘How much?’ — something other presidents don’t ask. They said, ‘Sir, one billion dollars,’” Trump said in theatrical disbelief.
“For $150,000 I could fix it. It’ll be beautiful,” Trump said at the rally Thursday in Elkhart, Ind.
The president said nothing about another campaign promise to seek a peace accord between Israel and the Palestinians, or the fact that meeting the first promise has, at least for now, foreclosed a chance for the second.
A regional peace initiative led by presidential adviser and son-in-law Jared Kushner has been shelved because of Palestinian anger over the shift in decades of U.S. policy regarding the embassy, which held that Jerusalem’s disputed status was an issue to be resolved through negotiations.
Keeping the U.S. embassy an hour away in Tel Aviv was a signal that the United States would not prejudge competing Israeli and Palestinian claims to land and sites in the holy city.
Before the embassy announcement, the Trump peace plan was widely expected to be unveiled in early 2018, with Israeli-Palestinian talks to follow. Trump spoke expansively last year of a chance to make “the ultimate deal,” succeeding where others had fallen short.
Palestinian leaders called the embassy move a betrayal and an abdication of the U.S. role as a neutral broker in the Israeli-Palestinian conflict. They have boycotted meetings with American officials since the move was announced in December. None of the senior U.S. officials attending the embassy opening on Monday, including Kushner and his wife Ivanka Trump, are expected to meet with Palestinian leaders.
The opening is timed to celebrate Israel’s 70th anniversary on May 14.
Trump is not attending, and neither are Vice President Mike Pence nor Secretary of State Mike Pompeo, whose deputy John Sullivan is leading the delegation. The relatively low-key delegation is a signal that the White House retains hope for the peace proposal this year, although there are no outward signs of progress.
U.S. officials say the plan is not dead and will be presented “at the right time.” Trump has barely mentioned it publicly in months, although he sounded upbeat when Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu visited the White house in early March.
“We’re working on it very hard,” Trump said then. “It would be a great achievement — and even from a humanitarian standpoint — what better if we could make peace between Israel and the Palestinians? And I can tell you, we are working very hard on doing that. And I think we have a very good chance.”
Trump, who got numerous details wrong in his account of the embassy cost, cites the embassy move as an example of his bolder leadership style.
“America is respected again. Different ball game,” Trump said at the campaign rally.
“After the promises of many administrations and presidents, and that they never did it — they campaigned on the promise, they never did it — next week we will finally open the American Embassy in Jerusalem,” he said.
Trump said he told U.S. Ambassador to Israel David Friedman to spend a little more — maybe $300,000 — and “it’ll be beautiful.”
The $1-billion estimate is for a planned replacement for an existing consular services site in southern Jerusalem, on land that was under Israeli sovereignty before 1967 and, the Israelis argue, will likely remain in Israel’s hands under any future peace agreement.
Under plans presented to Congress earlier this year, the new embassy would initially be housed in temporary quarters at that office site. The cost would be about $300,000 to $500,000, the figure Trump appeared to reference at the rally. He suggested the renovated building would then become permanent, saving money, but it is not clear that would satisfy legal and logistical issues for moving most operations from Tel Aviv.
Other administration officials frame the embassy decision as a common-sense recognition that Jerusalem already functions as the Israeli capital and would remain so in any negotiation. In the face of criticism from Europe and the Muslim world, the White House has argued that the embassy decision would help peace prospects rather than hurt them.
That idea got surprise backing Saturday from a former U.S. ambassador to Israel under president Barack Obama. Dan Shapiro wrote in a column for CNN.com that “the shattering of this taboo is useful in its own right,” and “helps return the search for a resolution to this conflict to its origins,” in the partition of Palestine.
“The UN understood in 1947 that the conflict required the creation of two states, which logically means Jews and Arab must share the land,” Shapiro wrote.
No other countries have their embassies in Jerusalem, though some did operate from there until the 1980s. On Wednesday, Guatemala will open its embassy in Jerusalem following the U.S. move.
In 70 years of Israeli history and the 51 years since Israel occupied East Jerusalem and the West Bank after the Six Day War, the conflict is no closer to a solution, Trump’s ambassador, Friedman, said Friday.
“One of the things that we thought was important in terms of the conflict was to look at the various leverage points and to see how we thought we could adjust those to create a better dynamic for peace,” Friedman said.
“What the president saw was that the Palestinians essentially had a veto over the recognition of Jerusalem as the capital of Israel,” Friedman said. “You’re empowering the leverage in a way that’s not helpful.”
Palestinian negotiator Saeb Erekat last week accused the Trump administration of violating international law and its “own commitments towards the peace process.”
“As Washington pursues a policy of encouragement of international anarchy and disregard for organizations and international law, we call upon all diplomatic corps, civil society organizations, and religious authorities to boycott the inauguration ceremony,” Erekat said.
Attending the ceremony would “lend legitimacy to an illegal decision and to continued Israeli policies of occupation, colonization, and annexation,” Erekat said.
Friedman, speaking to reporters from Tel Aviv, said diplomats from other nations were not invited to the opening, “so it would be incorrect to report that any other nation declined our invitation because we simply didn’t send any out.”
Some European and other diplomats have declined to attend a separate celebration sponsored by the Israeli Ministry of Foreign Affairs.
Jeremy Ben-Ami, the head of J Street, a U.S. group that favours a two-state peace settlement, called the embassy move a “suicidal act” that blocks the United States from playing any role in helping forge a deal of the magnitude and complexity that Trump seeks.
“The credibility of this administration as a potential broker is lost and irreparable,” he said. “If it does put forth any sort of a proposal, the most one can expect is it will be a recitation of the right-wing Israeli talking points — proposals that have been aired out in Israel for some time but do not bear any resemblance to anything a Palestinian representative can accept.”
Pompeo has called on Palestinians to return to the negotiating table but did not meet with them when he visited Israel on his first trip as secretary last month.
Pompeo appears to be positioning the State Department to resume a more traditional leading role in the Middle East portfolio, particularly the peace process. Kushner’s profile in the region is lower than it was last year, although he and U.S. negotiator Jason Greenblatt recently hosted a large regional conference at the White House on the humanitarian crisis in the Gaza Strip.
Pompeo also visited Saudi Arabia and Jordan on his first trip.
In Amman, Jordanian Foreign Minister Ayman Safadi made a point of saying that Jordan considers the Israeli-Palestinian conflict to be “the main cause of instability in the region,” and that the goal should be a sovereign independent Palestine with East Jerusalem as its capital. That is the central Palestinian demand from a settlement.
“The two-state solution remains the only path to that peace,” Safadi said, with Pompeo standing alongside.
Pompeo said the United States was not taking any final position on “boundaries or borders,” and that the United States would support a two-state solution “if the parties agree to it.”
Friedman released a Facebook video on Friday showing workers making final preparations for the embassy opening, including affixing a large U.S. government seal to a wall.
“This year, thanks to the U.S. administration, the courage, the vision of President Donald Trump, we can say … this year in Jerusalem,” Friedman says in the video.
That is a play on “next year in Jerusalem,” the traditional Passover Seder close.
Israelis are delighted by the embassy move, which Netanyahu has cast as an endorsement of his stewardship of the U.S.-Israeli alliance.
On May 7, Jerusalem Mayor Nir Barkat hung the first street signs in Hebrew, Arabic and English, pointing to the relocated U.S. Embassy.
“This is not a dream — it’s reality!” Barkat said in a statement. “ I thank President Trump for making this historic moment come to fruition. Jerusalem is the eternal capital of the Jewish people — and the world is beginning to recognize this fact.”
Trump seemed to have another kind of recognition in mind when he spoke of the embassy opening during the Indiana rally.
“I said, ‘when is this going to be open?’ ” Trump said. “They said, ‘anywhere from five to 10 years.’ ” Potentially too long for Trump to oversee the project. Also too long to take credit, Trump suggested.
“So, so we open the embassy next week.”
Related Stories
Latest News
Top news around the world
Coronavirus Disease

Coronavirus disease (COVID-19) is an infectious disease caused by a newly discovered coronavirus.

Most people infected with the COVID-19 virus will experience mild to moderate respiratory illness and recover without requiring special treatment. Older people, and those with underlying medical problems like cardiovascular disease, diabetes, chronic respiratory disease, and cancer are more likely to develop serious illness.

Around the World

Celebrity News

> Latest News in Media

Watch It
Elle Fanning To Play Michelle Carter in New Hulu Series | E! News
August 07, 2020
f3amOAcRXfY
Becca Kufrin & Garrett Yrigoyen Split | E! News
August 07, 2020
DqzaM2UJNJ0
"90 Day Fiancé" Star Jorge Nava's Exclusive Post-Prison Interview | E! News
August 07, 2020
_UFHPArA6To
Terry Dubrow reveals how his family supported Max Dubrow after she came out | Page Six News
August 07, 2020
jGFWV9dRA-E
Jason Derulo reacts to Trump’s proposal to ban TikTok | Page Six Celebrity News
August 07, 2020
uZtGjC8pBMU
Maya Vander teases drama on Season 3 of ‘Selling Sunset’ | Page Six Celebrity News
August 06, 2020
uEdNhptqBaE
'A Thousand Cuts' Journalist Maria Ressa on Freedom of the Press
August 07, 2020
FEI1t5k1C4w
Jordan Fisher on 'The Big Ticket' with Marc Malkin
August 07, 2020
1ceuwyhbuwc
Chris Meloni talks 'Maxxx' and His Return to 'Law and Order'
July 29, 2020
ZFTDB-dwyUA
Justin & Hailey Bieber Get Baptized Together | TMZ
August 07, 2020
n3FrYqYlE1w
Jerry O'Connell Says Homeschooling Math Looks Like a 'Hawking Equation' | TMZ
August 07, 2020
DjujtWWuKJ8
Jake Paul FBI Raid Was Not Over Firearms | TMZ
August 07, 2020
GLeSYjA-ijg
TV Schedule
Late Night Show
Watch the latest shows of U.S. top comedians

Sports

Latest sport results, news, videos, interviews and comments
Latest Events
01
Aug
ITALY: Serie A
Juventus - Roma
01
Aug
ITALY: Serie A
AC Milan - Cagliari
01
Aug
ITALY: Serie A
Napoli - Lazio
01
Aug
ITALY: Serie A
Atalanta - Inter Milan
29
Jul
ITALY: Serie A
Torino - Roma
29
Jul
ITALY: Serie A
Cagliari - Juventus
29
Jul
ITALY: Serie A
Sampdoria - AC Milan
28
Jul
ITALY: Serie A
Inter Milan - Napoli
26
Jul
ENGLAND: Premier League
Manchester City - Norwich City
26
Jul
ENGLAND: Premier League
Arsenal - Watford
26
Jul
ENGLAND: Premier League
Leicester City - Manchester United
26
Jul
ITALY: Serie A
Juventus - Sampdoria
26
Jul
ENGLAND: Premier League
Chelsea - Wolves
26
Jul
ENGLAND: Premier League
Newcastle United - Liverpool
26
Jul
ENGLAND: Premier League
Crystal Palace - Tottenham Hotspur
26
Jul
ITALY: Serie A
Roma - Fiorentina
25
Jul
ITALY: Serie A
Napoli - Sassuolo
25
Jul
ITALY: Serie A
Genoa - Inter Milan
24
Jul
ITALY: Serie A
AC Milan - Atalanta
23
Jul
ITALY: Serie A
Udinese - Juventus
22
Jul
ENGLAND: Premier League
Liverpool - Chelsea
22
Jul
ENGLAND: Premier League
Manchester United - West Ham United
22
Jul
ITALY: Serie A
Spal - Roma
22
Jul
ITALY: Serie A
Inter Milan - Fiorentina
22
Jul
ITALY: Serie A
Parma - Napoli
Find us on Instagram
at @feedimo to stay up to date with the latest.
Featured Video You Might Like
-g9Qziqbif8 0vmRhiLHE2U JFCZUoa6MYE UfN5PCF5EUo 2PV55f3-UAg W3y9zuI_F64 -7qCxIccihU pQ9gcOoH9R8 g5MRDEXRk4k tudKp5Vhs3k iwWHibhssSo kQr0XHPbICM
Copyright © 2020 Feedimo. All Rights Reserved.