Netanyahu stated that moving the US embassy from Tel Aviv to Jerusalem, Israel’s capital, would advance peace between Israel and the Palestinians, rather than the opposite.
Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu stated Sunday that moving the US embassy from Tel Aviv to Jerusalem would advance peace between Israel and the Palestinians rather than harming the process. He was responding to remarks made by US Secretary of State Rex Tillerson in an interview with NBC‘s Meet the Press earlier in the day.
President Donald Trump, Tillerson said, is proceeding very cautiously with regard to moving the US embassy to Jerusalem. “I think the president’s being very measured in how he goes about this – and appropriately so,” he explained.
Trump is considering the impact such a move could have on a peace process between Israel and the Palestinians, Tillerson continued. “(Trump) wants to put a lot of effort into seeing if we cannot advance a peace initiative between Israel and Palestine, and so I think in large measure the president is being very careful to understand how such a decision would impact a peace process.”
Netanyahu’s office responded by stating that “Israel’s position has been stated many times to the American administration and to the world: Moving the American embassy to Jerusalem would not harm the peace process,” Netanyahu’s office said in a statement. “On the contrary, it would advance it by correcting an historical injustice and by shattering the Palestinian fantasy that Jerusalem is not the capital of Israel.”
Will Trump Keep his Promise?
On Thursday, speaking at a Likud party event ahead of Trump’s scheduled visit to Israel later next week, Netanyahu said that Jerusalem is the “eternal capital of the Israeli people and it is fitting that all embassies, especially that of our friend the United States, be moved to Jerusalem.”
While Trump repeatedly stated his support for moving the US embassy to Jerusalem while on the campaign trial and after his election, as time passes, Israelis are wondering if it will actually happen.
All US presidents since 1995 have availed themselves of a provision in the law, allowing the president to delay the move if he signs a waiver affirming that in his judgment the move would harm America’s national security interests. The waiver must be signed every six months and was last signed by Barack Obama in October. If Trump signs the waiver, it will be done at the beginning of June.
While a recent news report surfaced that Trump has decided not to move the embassy to Jerusalem, the White House and the Prime Minister’s Office have both denied the report, and Jerusalem is waiting anxiously for a final decision on the issue.