President Trump made it official today. At a Diplomatic Reception room at the White House, the President recognized Jerusalem as the capital of Israel, a move that has been promised by every President other than Barack Obama for decades.
“I have determined that it is time to officially recognize Jerusalem as the capital of Israel,” Trump said. “This is a long overdue step to advance the peace process…today, we finally acknowledge the obvious: that Jerusalem is Israel’s capital. This is nothing more, or less, than a recognition of reality. It is also the right thing to do. It’s something that has to be done.”
This move will be embraced by many on the right and panned by many on the left, though some of the more notable liberals like Senator Chuck Schumer agree with the move.
I’ll put in my final thoughts below, but let’s look at some of the reactions so far…
In his remarks, Trump said the recognition of Jerusalem as the capitol is essential to peace talks moving forward, a message to Palestinian leader Mahmoud Abbas.
“Jerusalem is not just the heart of three great religions, but it is now also the heart of one of the most successful democracies in the world,” Trump said. “Israel is a sovereign nation with the right, like every other sovereign nation, to determine its own capital.”
First, sovereign nations are entitled to name their capital, and it is the near-universal practice of other nations to locate their embassies in that same capital. I say “near-universal” because the nations of the world have steadfastly refused to recognize Israel’s capital. They’ve steadfastly placed their embassies outside of Jerusalem. They do so in spite of the Jewish people’s ancient connection to the City of David and in spite of the fact that no conceivable peace settlement would turn over the seat of Israel’s government to Palestinian control — even if parts of East Jerusalem are reserved for a Palestinian capital. Israel’s government sits on Israeli land, and it will remain Israeli land.
Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu responded to Trump’s decision, expressing profound gratitude on behalf of the people of Israel.
Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu: @POTUS Trump, thank you for today’s historic decision to recognize Jerusalem as Israel’s capital. The Jewish people and the Jewish state will be forever grateful. pic.twitter.com/Z24lSRezYm
Huge speech and decision. If the Palestinians can have their own capitol, why not Israel? In reality and presently the United States does have a consulate in Jerusalem already. Marine FAST teams (elite security forces) and increased security have already been ordered at most U.S. diplomatic operations in key locations around the world, expecting protests.
Additionally, did you know the Palestinians have an embassy in Washington DC?
BREAKING. SecState Tillerson Announces Process of Moving US Embassy to Jerusalem Will Begin Immediately
Secretary of State Rex Tillerson followed up President Trump’s announcement of the official recognition by the United States of Jerusalem as the capital of Israel with his own newsmaker.
What does this mean? Other than a bunch of guys in stripey pants in Tel Aviv and Foggy Bottom befouling themselves? It’s hard to tell. Any process of moving the embassy to Jerusalem is going to be time consuming. The real estate acquisition will be an issue as Jerusalem is fairly built up and obviously the embassy is not, according to the proclamation, going into East Jerusalem. Design standards for high risk embassies are rather real estate intensive. And construction in and around Jerusalem is frequently delayed by archaeological finds. And we don’t know what “process” Tillerson is envisioning from this statement.
As you might have expected, much of the Middle East and some European countries are not happy with Trump’s decision to change US policy to formally recognize Jerusalem as the capital of Israel.
Here’s a list of who is saying what:
The Jerusalem municipality projected the American and Israeli flags on the Old City walls Wednesday as Trump announced the U.S. would formally recognize Jerusalem as the capital of Israel.
“After more than two decades of waivers, we are no closer to a lasting peace agreement between Israel and the Palestinians. It would be folly to assume that repeating the exact same formula would now produce a different or better result,” Trump said Wednesday while making the expected announcement. “Therefore, I have determined that it is time to officially recognize Jerusalem as the capital of Israel.”
Al Franken is done and probably won't make it through the day. On a brighter note, @realDonaldTrump has become the first and only U.S. @POTUS to have the [bleep] to fulfill what was a 22-year-old promise to Israel. https://t.co/ZMa1gHtNOp
— Richard Baris (@Peoples_Pundit) December 6, 2017
This is a historic day. Jerusalem has been the capital of Israel for nearly 70 years. Jerusalem has been the focus of our hopes, our dreams, our prayers for three millennia. Jerusalem has been the capital of the Jewish people for 3,000 years. Thank you, @realDonaldTrump! ???? pic.twitter.com/mWCUpUMpiC
— Benjamin Netanyahu (@netanyahu) December 6, 2017
Trump's recognition of Jerusalem as Israel's capital, including occupied Palestinian territory, is a reckless threat to peace. The British Government must condemn this dangerous act and work for a just and viable settlement of the conflict.
— Jeremy Corbyn (@jeremycorbyn) December 6, 2017
Now I'm even more convinced that it was a good idea to move the capital to Jerusalem https://t.co/mOXP4WDCQF
— Ben McDonald (@Bmac0507) December 6, 2017
Today's recognition of Jerusalem by the USA is a historic event, although we feel we should address what the Palestinians think. So we prepared a statement: pic.twitter.com/IphpaS6RCD
— The Mossad: Elite Parody Division (@TheMossadIL) December 6, 2017
The US puts our embassies in capital cities. Jerusalem is the capital of Israel. Also, why is the European Union weighing in on where we put our embassy? ?? ??
— ERIC BOLLING ?? (@ericbolling) December 6, 2017
It seems to me like a lot of people objecting to recognizing Jerusalem (recognizing, not declaring!) are just mad because the wrong people (read: Jews and Christians) like it.
— Gabriel Malor (@gabrielmalor) December 6, 2017
I’ve been a vocal opponent to the President, but I’ve also been fair. When he does the right things, I have no problem pointing them out. This is one of those things. Israel, as a sovereign nation, has the right to determine where its capital is. That the U.S. and most of the world has denied them this right is a travesty. Now, the President has made things right.