Should the U.S. move its embassy in Israel to Jerusalem? | The Tylt
Should the U.S. move its embassy in Israel to Jerusalem?
Many have been pushing President Trump to fulfill his campaign promise to move the U.S. embassy to Jerusalem. The move would be purely symbolic, but it would be a powerful gesture showing the world that the U.S. stands behind Israel. Trump has made big statements about his love for Israel and how much he supports it. If he truly believes that, he can put his money where his mouth is by being the first American president willing to actually make the move.
Moving the American embassy to Jerusalem will bring more states to do so. The Arab leaders will also understand that the leader of the world’s number one superpower has come here and knows how to distinguish between the good guys and the bad guys. Russian President Vladimir Putin will understand that the Americans are coming back to the Middle East, a region they have abandoned in recent years. And the Palestinians, who are not doing anything to promote a solution, will finally understand that time is not on their side.
Supporters say the backlash against moving the embassy would not be as bad as opponents say it will be. The peace process is already at a standstill. The Middle East is tearing itself apart with sectarian fighting and Islamic extremism. Refusing to move the embassy over fears of worsening tensions doesn't make sense because there are few ways things could get much worse.
The U.S. should do everything it can to support its ally Israel. That means not fretting over symbolic moves and actually leading in the region again.
I suggest the president not to sweat over the threats of the Palestinians. I've heard those many times before. Hamas, Islamic Jihad and others. They all threaten to set the Middle East on fire. Well, it has been on fire for the last six years with no regard for Israel. And the Palestinians always end a round of violence with their clothes burning and a call for the world to come to their aid.
People opposed to the idea—from world leaders to the Pope—argue things in the Middle East could definitely get worse and one of the best ways to ensure that is by moving the U.S. embassy to Jerusalem. Despite the mandate from Congress in 1995 to move the embassy to Jerusalem, every president has used their executive power to postpone the move on grounds that it's not in the interests of the U.S. to make that move. Moving the embassy would trigger major violent protests while undermining U.S. legitimacy as a peace broker between Israel and Palestine.
For Israel, the benefits of a Jerusalem-based U.S. Embassy would be entirely symbolic, while the costs could be significant and substantial. Not only could the Israelis end up dealing with a new eruption of violence and unrest directly linked to the move; it could severely damage Israel’s regional posture and diplomatic gains with key Arab states. The embassy move would certainly violate the spirit, if not the letter, of Israel’s Washington-brokered peace treaties with Egypt and Jordan, and the reaction of these countries is hard to predict but unlikely to be insignificant.
The move would only force political maneuvering on both sides into overdrive over something that has no real benefit to anyone involved. Israel and the U.S. have long pushed back against Palestinian efforts for international recognition, a symbolic gesture that does more to undermine the peace process than anything else. Moving the embassy is the exact same thing.
It will be impossible for Israel and America, if the U.S. Embassy is moved to Jerusalem, to successfully lecture the Palestine Liberation Organization about how pointless or quixotic purely symbolic moves at the United Nations and other international organizations and forums might be on the grounds that nominal gains with practical costs are foolish. Both the United States and Israel will have demonstrated that they don’t believe that at all and instead embrace symbolic moves that come at high costs when it suits them. There’s almost no question the Palestinians will take it as a virtual mandate to charge forward in international forms, ratcheting up as many symbolic victories as possible with a similar disregard for the practical consequences.
Moving the embassy is a no-win situation that will only make things worse. The U.S. should just maintain the status quo and continue its attempts to broker peace between Israel and Palestine.