Sometimes it is hard to do the right thing, but that doesn’t make it any less right. Such is the case with Donald Trump and his announcement a few days ago that the United States will be moving its Embassy in Israel to Jerusalem.
For far too many decades, both the United States and the rest of the world have played a silly game by pretending that Jerusalem is somehow not the legitimate capital of the state of Israel. Now that Donald Trump is in the White House he has done what Presidents Bill Clinton, George W. Bush and Barack Obama were unwilling to do: actually move the Embassy and thereby fulfill the will of the American people.
In 1995 Congress passed an historic law called the Jerusalem Embassy Act. That legislation codified American policy while outlining a series of crucial facts related to the Israeli capital. The bill noted that, “each sovereign nation, under international law may designate its own capital.” It also recognized that since 1950 Jerusalem has been Israel’s capital city, and observed that Israel’s President, its Parliament, its Supreme Court and various government ministries were all located there.
The bill also noted that the holy city was divided from 1948-1967, but after its reunification in 1967 Israel has administered the entire city, while steadfastly guaranteeing full access to holy sites within the city for people of all faiths.
Every six months since the law was passed, Presidents have had the option of enacting a waiver to delay fulfilling America’s promise to its people and to Israel. Successive Democratic and Republican Presidents have shirked their responsibilities, but at long last, President Trump will be ensuring that America does what is right.
It’s fairly amazing that it took so long for this day to arrive. But as someone who has had the privilege to spend time with President Trump, it is anything but surprising. His dedication to standing with the Jewish state is undeniable and with this move he will firmly cement a legacy as the most pro-Israel president in American history.
President Trump was elected in order to challenge the status quo and not blindly follow where others have led. He captured the White House by pledging to chart a new course and to forge a new path enacting the policies that serve America first.
He is not a leader who will be swayed by the hyperbolic protestations of Arab rulers or the leaders in capitals across Europe who have been more interested in cheerleading for the corrupt and inept Palestinian Authority than doing the right thing and standing at the side of Israel, a fellow democracy which champions the rule of law, accountability, a free press, human rights and a long list of other values that resonate with Americans and should resonate with other democracies worldwide.
I have read with interest the assessments by opponents of Israel and apologists for a Palestinian government that continues to incite its people to violence and pays out lifelong blood money payments to the families of terrorists who murder Israelis. They wring their hands and warn that America is setting the stage for a violent backlash by the Palestinians, which is actually pre-emptively excusing the Palestinian propensity to turn to terrorist violence and bloodshed as the preferred tactic for trying to coerce Israel.
The problem is that the Palestinians don’t want to live in a peaceful state next to Israel. They want a state in place of Israel, and cling to the sick fantasy of eradicating the Jewish state. To achieve this they have enacted a systematic campaign to revise history and try to erase the undeniable Jewish connection and birthright to Jerusalem.
Gone are the days when America will continue to be held hostage by the threats of the Palestinians. After all, they have never needed a reason, real or imagined, to resort to threatening Israel and attacking its citizens. President Trump has boldly gone where no President has: calling the Palestinians’ bluff. The President has put the world on notice that America will no longer pretend that Jerusalem is not Israel’s capital just to placate the Palestinians and their supporters.
For the past 3,000 years there has been an uninterrupted Jewish presence in the city, which is the religious and cultural home for the Jewish people. This is an undeniable fact, just as it is an undeniable fact that Israel has been operating for 70 years with Jerusalem as its center of government.
The process of actually moving the U.S. Embassy is one that will take time to become a reality, but December 6 will be forever remembered as a watershed moment. For today is the day that a courageous President demonstrated the moral clarity to respect the will of American people across the political spectrum and to stand proudly beside a steadfast ally whose capital city is Jerusalem.