The United States has brought about a historic moment in Israel and finally moved its embassy to Jerusalem, solidifying President Donald Trump’s decision to recognize the city as the capital of Israel.
Since 1995, American presidents have promised to officially recognize Jerusalem as Israel’s capital, only to renege while in office. President Trump has kept America’s promise to their greatest ally in the Middle East.
The Jerusalem Embassy Is Open
In a ceremony celebrating the new embassy, President Trump and Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu gave speeches touting the strengthened alliance between the United States and Israel. During his address to the audience, Trump reaffirmed his commitment to establishing peace between Israel and the Palestinians, who violently protested at the ceremony. “The United States remains fully committed to facilitating a lasting peace agreement, and we continue to support the status quo at Jerusalem’s holy sites, including the Temple Mount, also known as Haram al-Sharif,” Trump said.
While critics of Israel have argued that the country should not control the city of Jerusalem, Trump’s statements regarding the “status quo” reference the current situation at The Temple Mount — one of Judaism’s most important sites — which is under the control of the Waqf, an Islamic group that does not allow Jews to worship there.
The president’s decision was not received warmly by all parties. Palestinian Authority President Mahmoud Abbas cut ties with the Trump administration when the U.S. president announced his decision back in December.
Some of the United States’ allies expressed their opposition to the Trump administration’s decision. U.K. Prime Minister Theresa May said, “We disagree with the U.S. decision to move its embassy to Jerusalem and recognize Jerusalem as the Israeli capital.” French President Emmanuel Macron stated that when speaking to Trump about the issues, he “warned repeatedly of the repercussions.”
Russian Foreign Minister Sergey Lavrov stated that “it is inappropriate to unilaterally revise the decisions of the international community in this way.” Not surprisingly, several Arab leaders also slammed the move.
Lebanese Prime Minister Saad Hariri said that the decision was “provocative.” Iranian Foreign Minister Mohammad Javad Zarif said that it was “a day of great shame.”
It is interesting to note that while no Democrat leaders attended the ceremony, Senate Minority Leader Chuck Schumer gave a rare compliment to President Trump. “Every nation should have the right to choose its capital,” he said in a statement.” “I sponsored legislation to do this two decades ago, and I applaud President Trump for doing it.”
Israel Clashes With Palestinian Terrorists
The ceremony was met with violence from Palestinian protesters. Palestinians in the Gaza Strip swarmed the border and launched attacks. The terrorist group Hamas attempted to disrupt the event by hiding among Palestinian civilians. According to The Jerusalem Post, they “threw rocks, burned tires, and flew kites and balloons outfitted with firebombs into Israeli territory.”
The Israeli military responded with force. During the various scuffles, they killed about fifty Palestinian attackers. Israeli officials insist that Hamas instigated the violence.
Things Are Changing In The Middle East
It appears that things are changing for Israel. In President Trump, they now have an ally that is serious about the relationship between Washington and Jerusalem. With rising concerns over Iran’s increasing influence in the region, the Jewish state has found unlikely allies in Saudi Arabia and Egypt, countries who previously opposed Israel.
However, there is still more work to be done if Israel and the Palestinians are to come up with a viable peace agreement. Perhaps this move by the Trump administration will apply enough pressure to get both sides to the negotiating table. Only time will tell.