Trump’s Victory Cause for Celebration in Israel

Donald Trump with Benjamin Netanyahu. (Photo: via Twitter, file)

On the campaign trail, Donald Trump the candidate promised to recognize Jerusalem as the undivided capital of Israel — a move that would upend decades of US policy. Now that he’s the President-elect, Israel’s right wing is thrilled and is calling on Trump to relocate the American embassy from Tel Aviv to Jerusalem as soon as he takes office.

Jerusalem Mayor Nir Barkat commended Trump’s position on Jerusalem and said the status of the city is not open for negotiation. “The role of the city of Jerusalem will never change,” Barkat said the day after the elections. “It has to be under the sovereignty of the Jewish people. It has to play an inclusive role. It can never function as a divided city.” Other right-wing politicians joined Barkat in calling on Trump to fulfill his campaign promise.

The Jerusalem Embassy Act of 1995 requires the US government to move the embassy to Jerusalem, but the move has been waived every six months since the law was passed. Presidents Clinton, Bush, and Obama all declined to relocate the embassy after being elected, citing national security.

Riyad Mansour, the Palestinian Ambassador to the United Nations, told a conference in Washington, DC on Friday: “If [the US administration moves the embassy to Jerusalem], nobody should blame us for unleashing all of the weapons that we have in the UN to defend ourselves, and we have a lot of weapons in the UN.”

Israel’s Education Minister Naftali Bennett, leader of the right-wing Jewish Home party, said Trump’s election allows Israel to fully dismiss the notion of a Palestinian state. “This is the position of the President-elect, as written in his platform, and it should be our policy, plain and simple. The era of a Palestinian state is over.”

In an interview with the Wall Street Journal, Trump said an Israeli-Palestinian peace agreement would be the “ultimate deal” and that he’d “like to do … the deal that can’t be made. And do it for humanity’s sake.”

But if Trump recognizes Jerusalem as the undivided capital of Israel, it would dash the Palestinian goal of a capital in East Jerusalem, making a peace deal between Israelis and Palestinians even more remote. It would also ratchet up tensions between the US and Arab countries that want to see a Palestinian capital in East Jerusalem.

(CNN, PC, Social Media)

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