What Move of US Embassy to Jerusalem Would Mean

PHOTO: IsraelTourism/Creative Commons

PHOTO: IsraelTourism/Creative Commons

(Daily Signal) The Trump administration is undecided about relocating the U.S. Embassy in Israel from Tel Aviv to Jerusalem, a campaign promise that carries historical and symbolic significance to Israelis, Palestinians, and the broader Middle East.

On Monday, White House press secretary Sean Spicer said there are “no decisions” on relocating the embassy to Jerusalem, a move that previous Republican and Democratic presidents have also promised to do, but decided against to avoid taking sides over who controls the ancient and holy city.

As President Donald Trump’s administration decides whether to break that tradition, observers of the Israeli-Palestinian conflict say this president appears serious about moving the embassy, based on his consistent campaign rhetoric, and his decision to pick David Friedman as ambassador to Israel.

Friedman has opposed a two-state solution, and upon being nominated, he said he looked forward to working “from the U.S. Embassy in Israel’s eternal capital, Jerusalem,” rather than Tel Aviv.

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“What’s interesting is that many presidents have made this same promise during campaigns and failed to follow through,” said Jonathan Schanzer, a scholar in Middle Eastern studies and vice president of research at the Foundation for Defense of Democracies.

“This time, it looks like things may be different, given Trump’s selection of Friedman as ambassador and the statements both of them have made,” Schanzer told The Daily Signal in an interview.

Because Jerusalem is a contested city, the U.S. Embassy’s location in Tel Aviv, the commercial and cultural hub of Israel, has long been a diplomatic challenge for American and Israeli leaders.

U.S. policy officially says the embassy should be moved to Jerusalem….

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