By Mariah McCloskey
In no other country does the United States locate its embassy anywhere other than the capital; Israel is the lone exception. As stated by The New York Times, The U.S. does not have its embassy in in Jerusalem, Israel’s self-declared capital, but in Tel Aviv, Israel’s tourist capital.
According to the Israeli Foreign Ministry, no country has an embassy in Jerusalem. In the 1990s, the U.S. Congress voted to move the U.S. Embassy to Jerusalem from Tel Aviv. Since then, President Bill Clinton, George W. Bush, and Barack Obama all delayed the move by signing waivers to keep the Embassy in Tel Aviv.
The U.S. President-Elect, Donald J. Trump, has declared the movement of the Israeli Embassy to Jerusalem one of his top priorities after getting into office.
According to Walid Phares, Trump’s Foreign Policy advisor, the President-Elect will only make the move “under consensus” of the American Public. Ivanka Trump, daughter to the president elect, promised Floridian Jewish voters at the end of October that her father was 100 percent behind an embassy move.
Trump’s proxies have said the US-Israel relationship will “grow like never before.” Only hours after the election result was in, Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu offered his congratulations, stating that “Trump is a true friend of the State of Israel.”
Many within Israel’s right wing are elated with Trump’s plans to move the embassy. They feel Jerusalem will finally be recognized as the capital of Israel. Prime Minister Netanyahu believes that this move will bring a unique alliance between Israel and the United States to new heights.
Even after the world recognized the State of Israel in 1948, it left the final status of Jerusalem open to future negotiations. Israel has declared Jerusalem as its “eternal” capital; Palestinians want the eastern part of Jerusalem, where many Arabs and other non-Jews live, for their future capital.
Past American presidents have kept the embassy in Tel Aviv in order to preserve the U.S. role as mediator and deter other nations from taking sides on the Israeli-Palestinian conflict. The United States has attempted to delay an embassy move until a peace deal is passed and the status of Jerusalem is decided.
This decision to move the Embassy would be a huge boost to Israel and please many Jews and evangelical Christians, but infuriate many Palestinians and much of the Islamic world.
Mohammed Hussainy, Director of the Identity Center in Amman, said that “Jordanians have real concerns about Trump’s campaign statements regarding Arab and Muslims, as well his intention to move the US embassy from Tel Aviv to Jerusalem.”
Naftali Bennett, head of the Jewish Home Party and Israeli education minister, announced that the victory of Trump is simply an opportunity for Israel to announce that it renounces the idea of establishing Palestine, particularly in the heart of Israel.