2017-12-20 / Editorial

President Trump’s Jerusalem announcement is welcome recognition

President Donald Trump’s recognition of Jerusalem as Israel’s capital and pledge to relocate the U.S. Embassy from Tel Aviv to Jerusalem is a welcome step supported by a large majority of Israel’s people.

Jerusalem, of course, has been the spiritual center of the Jewish people since biblical times. Fast-forward some 3,000 years and we are approaching the 70th anniversary of the modern creation of Israel as a Jewish and democratic state.

In 1995, Congress passed The Jerusalem Embassy Act with bipartisan support, voting to relocate the US embassy in Israel. However, the law allowed the President to sign a waiver delaying the move. Every President since then has done so, citing a variety of reasons, including security and advancing the peace process.

President Trump, like past presidents, is hoping to broker a peace plan between Israel and the Palestinians. His declaration of Jerusalem’s status carefully evades addressing the geographic boundaries of the capital city. In addition, no exact date has yet been set for the embassy move.

We agree with the Jewish Federations of North America in welcoming this decision, as it upholds the organization’s long-standing policy. Like JFNA, we also welcome a future negotiated between the parties in which Israelis and Palestinians live side by side with secure and recognized borders.

In the days since President Trump’s declaration, there has been an uptick in violence in Israel and against Jews worldwide. It is premature to predict the impact of President Trump’s announcement on Middle East peace prospects or relations between the U.S. and its Arab allies.

So while this is an uncharted path, it is the right move for the U.S., Israel’s closest ally, to lead the way in recognizing the clear historical connection between Jerusalem and the Jewish people. 

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