Donald John Trump reportedly is about to announce a policy that will move the U.S. Embassy in Israel from Tel Aviv to Jerusalem.
What are the stakes? Oh, let’s see. Perhaps it’s the prospect of obtaining a lasting peace agreement between Israel and the Palestinian Authority, which also happens to claim Jerusalem as its own.
How I wish the president would rethink what I understand is about to occur.
I spent more than a month in Israel just a few years ago. I got an up-close look at the proximity — the tight quarters — in which Israel must exist with its Palestinian neighbors; indeed, Israel is home to many people of Palestinian descent.
Jerusalem is walled off from the Palestinian Authority because of intense security concerns caused by terrorists who have rained havoc onto Israelis for centuries.
Meanwhile, U.S. diplomats and their staffs have been ensconced in Tel Aviv, which isn’t all that far from Jerusalem, but far enough to avoid many of the direct threats posed to those who live in the holy city.
And in the midst of all this we have the still-remote prospect of a peace agreement that could be struck between Israel and the PA. What in the world might this blatantly aggressive move by the United States to do muck up that effort?
I have little faith that any talks — spearheaded on the U.S. side by Trump son-in-law Jared Kushner — is going to advance even under the best of circumstances. Kushner has zero diplomatic experience and for the life of me I cannot grasp why the president would entrust this hyper-sensitive negotiation to someone only because he is married to a member of the First Family.
Indeed, I am trying to think of any worse move the United States could make that could throw a serious dirt clod into the quest for peace in the region. I keep coming back to a potential decision to place our nation’s embassy in a city that Israel’s sworn enemy claims for itself.
Good grief, Mr. President. Keep our embassy in Tel Aviv. It’s doesn’t take long to drive there from Jerusalem.