By Gary Bauer
It is hard to adequately express my happiness today. Overcoming foreign threats and dissent within the U.S. government, President Trump today formally recognized Jerusalem as the capital of Israel and began the process of moving the U.S. embassy from Tel Aviv to Jerusalem.
I am proud of this courageous act by President Trump. Not only does it correct the absurdity of the U.S. not having a formal presence in the capital of its chief Middle East ally, but it also removes the ambiguity about America’s position on Jerusalem that has long hampered our foreign relations.
This decision also corrects a historical injustice. When the U.S. recognized Israel only minutes after its independence in 1948, it didn’t include formal recognition of Jerusalem as Israel’s capital. In officially recognizing Jerusalem as Israel’s capital, President Trump did what a dozen U.S. presidents refused to do.
It’s been more than 20 years since Congress passed a law that calls for the establishment of America’s embassy in Jerusalem. But every president since has signed a waiver twice a year that cites national security concerns for delaying the move. They did so even though all of them visited Jerusalem and conducted official business there.
Trump’s decision is being portrayed in much of the media as controversial because Palestinians see Jerusalem as the capital of a future Palestinian state. But Jerusalem has never been the capital of any nation other than Israel! Arab leaders warned that the move could spark a new round of violence across the Middle East. Palestinian and other Islamic groups called for three days of “popular anger” to protest the decision.
But the Islamic supremacists are looking for any excuse to kill and destroy. They say the decision will put an end to the peace process. But the Palestinians have eliminated any chance at peace by walking away from every deal Israel has proposed including deals that divided Jerusalem.
Trump’s decision comes after eight years of betrayals of Israel by the Obama Administration. You will remember that late in his presidency, Obama stabbed Israel in the back by allowing a United Nations measure to pass that declared Israel’s presence in Jerusalem illegitimate. Trump’s bold decision remedies this injustice and makes it crystal clear to the world that the U.S. now stands firmly with its ally Israel.
President Trump’s decision fulfills a campaign promise. It also sends a powerful message that America will stand by its allies and that, unlike with previous administrations, if the U.S. says it will do something, its word is its bond.