Archive for the ‘U.S. Embassy In Israel’ category

The U.S. is opening an embassy in Jerusalem. Why is there a furor?

May 14, 2018

By Stephen Farrell May 14, 2018 Reuters

Source Link: The U.S. is opening an embassy in Jerusalem. Why is there a furor?

{An informative primer . – LS}

JERUSALEM (Reuters) – The United States opens its embassy in Jerusalem on Monday, a move that has delighted Israel and infuriated Palestinians.

The opening ceremony is at a U.S. consular building in the Arnona neighborhood. It will house an interim embassy for the ambassador and a small staff until a larger site is found.

The compound cuts across the 1949 Armistice Line that separated West Jerusalem from No Man’s Land, which Israel captured in the 1967 Six Day War and has held under occupation ever since.

The embassy move follows U.S. President Donald Trump’s decision last December to break with decades of U.S. policy and recognize Jerusalem as the capital of Israel.

Israel’s Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu welcomed the decision, saying it reflected that “the Jewish people have had a capital for 3,000 years, and that it is called Jerusalem.”

But the move upset the Arab world and Western allies. Palestinian President Mahmoud Abbas called it a “slap in the face” and said the United States can no longer be regarded as an honest broker in any peace talks with Israel.

Trump said his administration has a peace proposal in the works and that by recognizing Jerusalem as the capital of America’s closest ally he had “taken Jerusalem, the toughest part of the negotiation, off the table.”

WHY DID TRUMP RECOGNIZE JERUSALEM AS ISRAEL’S CAPITAL AND ANNOUNCE THE EMBASSY WILL BE MOVED THERE?

There has long been pressure from pro-Israel politicians in Washington to move the U.S. Embassy from Tel Aviv to Jerusalem, and Trump made it a promise of his 2016 election campaign.

Vice-President Mike Pence and David Friedman, the ambassador to Israel appointed by Trump, are thought to have pushed hard for both recognition and embassy relocation.

The decision was popular with many conservative and evangelical Christians who voted for Trump and Pence.

Trump acted under a 1995 law that requires the United States to move its embassy to Jerusalem. But Bill Clinton, George W. Bush and Barack Obama consistently signed waivers.

Announcing his decision on Dec. 6, Trump cited the Jerusalem Embassy Act and suggested his predecessors had “lacked courage.” He said: “They failed to deliver. Today, I am delivering.”

WHY DOES JERUSALEM PLAY SUCH AN IMPORTANT ROLE IN THE MIDDLE EAST CONFLICT?

Religion, politics and history.

Jerusalem is a city sacred to Judaism, Christianity and Islam, and each religion has sites of great significance there. Jerusalem has been fought over for millennia by its inhabitants, and by regional powers and invaders including the Egyptians, Babylonians, Romans, early Muslim rulers, Crusaders, Ottomans, the British Empire and by the modern states of Israel and its Arab neighbors.

Israel’s government regards Jerusalem as the eternal and indivisible capital of the country, although that is not recognized internationally. Palestinians say East Jerusalem must be the capital of a future Palestinian state. Jews call the city Jerusalem, or Yerushalayim, and Arabs call it Al-Quds (“The Holy”).

At the heart of Jerusalem’s Old City is the hill known to Jews as Har ha-Bayit, or Temple Mount, and to Muslims as al-Haram al-Sharif, or The Noble Sanctuary. It was home to the Jewish temples of antiquity but all that remains above ground is a restraining wall for the foundations built by Herod the Great. Known as the Western Wall, this is a sacred place of prayer for Jews.

America is re-establishing reason and a respect for facts

December 7, 2017

America is re-establishing reason and a respect for facts, Israel National News, Giulio Meotti, December 6, 2017

(Please see also, A Two State Solution for Europe? — DM)

Europe has betrayed Israel. Only America can and must do the right thing. And the right thing is to certify the inalienable and millennial Jewish right to the most beautiful city in the world.

A macabre joke circulated at the airport during the harrowing weeks preceding the 1967 war was “The last one to leave turns off the light”. Today, Jerusalem is full of lights. Hallelujah! Next year in Jerusalem!

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Palestinian Arabs assault Israelis on the Temple Mount? The metal detectors’ fault.

UNESCO Islamizes the places holy to Judaism? Not to worry.

The UN floods the Palestinian propaganda machine with money? Give them more. The European Union marks Israeli goods? Just fine.

For years the world has violated the “status quo” between Israelis and Palestinians. But now that America is re-establishing reason and facts as it should have done since 1995, by recognizing Jerusalem as the capital of Israel, all the newspapers speak of “provocation”.

If the Jews had to wait for the state to be served on a silver platter, Jews and Holocaust survivors would still be in the Red Cross camps. The Jews had to fight to get their land back and for the last 80 years they have had to defend it with their fingernails and teeth. The world will always find reasons to dismantle Israel piece by piece, all the way to the Ben Gurion international airport (Lydda).

There has never been a moment like this one, when the Middle East is devastated, and the West should be showing its unwavering solidarity with Israel. Instead the always smiling Macron, the UN, the mainstream media all in unison, the Hamas terrorists, the kleptocrat Abbas, the Vatican, the Saudi satrap, the caliph Erdogan, the Jordanian king and the European bureaucrats all agree that the American recognition of Jerusalem as the capital of Israel is a “provocation”. Because Israel represents a deadly threat to Islamist regimes. Because those who oppose today are those who have focused on “peace” for Israel, rather than on freedom and progress.

Being democratic today means understanding that the enemies of Israel are not only afraid of its weapons, but also of its sensational ideals, on which the Israelis have built their beautiful capital.

Jerusalem has been the capital of the Jewish people for 3,000 years and the capital of the State of Israel for 70, whether or not that is recognized by the UN, the EU, Erdogan, Jordan and all those who have always worked with blackmail, threats and wars to turn Israel into an ever smaller ghetto and erect a “Palestine” in its place, not alongside of it. No physical and diplomatic jihad will ever take Jerusalem from the Jews.

The Arab-Islamic world and the Palestinian Arabs themselves, will always find what they see as valid reasons for “burning up the region”. They have always found or manufactured reasons. Tens of thousands of Israelis have been killed in these extraordinary 80 years of war. If the Damascus gate in Jerusalem resembles Israel and not the Syrian Damascus it is only thanks to the Israeli presence.

Much of the international community does not recognize even pre-1948 Israel (see the boycott of Jeremy Corbyn and others of the Balfour Declaration), let alone the post-1967 Israel, the eastern part of Jerusalem where much of Jewish history took place.

Europe has betrayed Israel. Only America can and must do the right thing. And the right thing is to certify the inalienable and millennial Jewish right to the most beautiful city in the world.

A macabre joke circulated at the airport during the harrowing weeks preceding the 1967 war was “The last one to leave turns off the light”. Today, Jerusalem is full of lights. Hallelujah! Next year in Jerusalem!

Report: Trump expected to move embassy to Jerusalem within days

November 30, 2017

Report: Trump expected to move embassy to Jerusalem within days, Israel National News, David Rosenberg, November 29, 2017

TrumpReuters

Israeli officials expect President Donald Trump to announce plans to relocate the US Embassy in Israel from Tel Aviv to Jerusalem in the coming days, and to officially recognize Jerusalem as the capital of the Jewish state.

According to a report by Channel 2, senior Israeli officials have claimed that the Israeli government expects an announcement from the president in the coming days regarding the Israeli capital, following a comment by Vice President Mike Pence at a special event in Manhattan on Tuesday.

Speaking at an event hosted by the Israeli mission to the United Nations to mark the 70th anniversary of the historic United Nations General Assembly vote on Resolution 181, endorsing the establishment of a Jewish state, Pence said that the president is “actively considering” moving the embassy, calling it a matter of “when and how”.

“President Donald Trump is actively considering when and how to move the American embassy in Israel from Tel Aviv to Jerusalem,” Pence said.

Senior officials in Jerusalem told Channel 2, President Trump is expected to authorize the relocating of the embassy even before his administration presents its plans for a regional peace deal.

The sources claim that Trump has resolved not to renew a waiver allowing the embassy to remain in Tel Aviv.

In 1995, Congress passed the Jerusalem Embassy Act, requiring the president to move the US embassy to Israel’s capital.

The law, which was signed by President Clinton, despite his own opposition to the bill, after it passed with broad bipartisan support.

Under the law, the president may delay implementation of the act for security reasons, renewing the waiver every six months.

In June, President Trump renewed the waiver, despite a campaign pledge to move the embassy.

Unconfirmed reports claim that President Trump is set to announce the formation of a special team to implement the embassy move.

Earlier this month, US Ambassador to Israel David Friedman reiterated his belief that President Trump would in fact relocate the embassy, calling the move a matter of ‘when, not if’.

“The president has also made clear that he intends to move the United States embassy from Tel Aviv to Jerusalem. It is not a question of if, it is a question of when. And I take the president at his word, and I’m personally committed to do all that I can to advocate for this move.”

Lawmakers to Trump: Stop Stalling on Moving U.S. Embassy in Israel to Jerusalem

November 22, 2017

Lawmakers to Trump: Stop Stalling on Moving U.S. Embassy in Israel to Jerusalem,  Washinton Free Beacon , November 21, 2017

(Please see also, Holding the PLO Accountable. — DM)

Getty Images

A group of leading House lawmakers have petitioned President Donald Trump to immediately move the U.S. Embassy in Israel to Jerusalem ahead of a deadline that could see the White House delaying the move for at least another six months, according to a letter sent to the president and obtained by the Washington Free Beacon.

Rep. Ron DeSantis (R., Fla.), chair of the House Subcommittee on National Security, spearheaded the letter, which urges Trump to finally make good on a heavily scrutinized campaign promise to relocate the U.S. Embassy in Israel from Tel Aviv to Jerusalem, the Jewish state’s capital city.

While Trump has promised to move the embassy—which Congress legally mandated in 1995—as one of his first moves in office, the White House sent shockwaves through the pro-Israel community earlier this year when it renewed a longstanding waiver that ignores the congressional mandate and requires the embassy to remain located in Tel Aviv.

Every president since the law was initiated has signed the waiver, claiming that moving the embassy would interfere with U.S. diplomatic efforts to restart Israeli-Palestinian peace talks. Many observers in Congress and elsewhere thought Trump would finally break that cycle.

Since deciding to renew the waiver preventing the embassy’s move, DeSantis and other lawmakers have been pressuring the administration publicly and privately to make good on its promise.

The latest letter, sent to the White House on Tuesday, is a sign that Congress is becoming increasingly frustrated with Trump’s decision to delay the embassy move.

White House officials told the Free Beacon earlier this month that there is no decision yet on whether it will begin moving the embassy, saying, there is “no news to share” on the matter.

DeSantis told the Free Beacon on Tuesday that the letter is meant to show the Trump administration there is widespread support both in Israel and America for the embassy move.

“After 22 years, it is time to allow the Jerusalem Embassy Act to take effect,” DeSantis said. “I urge the president to decline to sign the impending waiver and announce the relocation of our embassy in Israel to Jerusalem.”

The move would help rally U.S. support for Israel at a critical time, DeSantis said.

“Doing so during this calendar year—the 50th anniversary of the reunification of Jerusalem—would be of incredible significant to millions of people in both Israel and the United States.”

The congressional letter to Trump echoes these sentiments and urges Trump to follow through with his earlier promises on the matter.

“We applaud your administration for standing strong in defense of Israel, and we urge you to fulfill your promise of relocating the U.S. embassy in Israel from Tel Aviv to the capital of Jerusalem as we approach the second waiver deadline of your administration under the Jerusalem Embassy Act on December 1, 2017,” the lawmakers write, referring to the upcoming deadline by which Trump must either renew the waiver or begin the process to relocate the embassy.

This is at least the second congressional letter on the issue since January and it follows a recent hearing on Capitol Hill in which top experts argued the Trump administration has no significant rationale for delaying the move.

“The upcoming deadline is the right time to enforce the Jerusalem Embassy Act,” the lawmakers write. “We are encouraged by the promise you made after the first waiver deadline of your administration in June 2017—that it is a question of when, not if, you will choose to relocate the embassy—and we hope to see your promise fulfilled this December.”

Other signers of the letter include: Reps. Brian Mast (R. Fla.), James Comer (R., Ky.), Trent Franks (R., Ariz.), Virginia Foxx (R., N.C.), Glenn Grothman (R., Wis.), Jody Hice (R., Ga.), Jim Jordan (R., Ohio), Doug Lamborn (R., Colo.), Mark Meadows (R., N.C.), Dennis Ross (R., Fla.), and Lee Zeldin (R., N.Y.).

Former United Nations Ambassador John Bolton, testifying earlier this month before lawmakers on the issue, maintained that arguments the move would negatively impact U.S. peace efforts in the region are unsubstantiated.

“Such a move, would not adversely effect negotiations over Jerusalem’s final status or the broader Middle East peace process,” Bolton told lawmakers. “Nor would it impair our diplomatic relations among predominately Arab or Muslims nations. In fact, by its honest recognition of reality, shifting the embassy would have an overall positive impact for U.S. diplomatic efforts.”

Holding the PLO Accountable

November 21, 2017

Holding the PLO Accountable, FrontPage MagazineCaroline Glick, November 21, 2017

(I have mixed feelings about Secretary of State Tillerson: bad and terrible. He appears to believe that he, not Trump, is the American president. Forget the moribund “peace process,” move the American Embassy to Jerusalem and do it now. Please see also The terrorist had reason to smile as he rammed people. — DM)

Originally published by the Jerusalem Post.

DeSantis argued that until the embassy is moved the Trump administration should take “incremental steps” that move it toward the goal.

Among the steps he advocated, DeSantis said “the American consulates in Jerusalem should report to the American embassy in Israel, not directly to the State Department.”

Tillerson’s letter to Zomlot was shocking because it represented the first time since 1993 that the PLO has been held accountable for its actions. The time has come for the State Department, too, to be held accountable for its behavior. And the best way to start this process is to follow DeSantis’s advice, subordinate the US consulates in Jerusalem to the US ambassador and end their boycott of Jews – US citizens and non-citizens – who live in the Jerusalem area, in Judea and Samaria.

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Is the PLO’s long vacation from accountability coming to an end? How about the State Department’s? In 1987 the US State Department placed the PLO on its list of foreign terrorist organizations. The PLO was removed from the list in 1994, following the initiation of its peace process with Israel in 1993.

As part of the Clinton administration’s efforts to conclude a long-term peace deal between the PLO and Israel, in 1994 then president Bill Clinton signed an executive order waiving enforcement of laws that barred the PLO and its front groups from operating in the US. His move enabled the PLO to open a mission in Washington.

Whereas Obama’s PLO upgrade was legally dubious, the PLO’s campaign to get recognized as a state breached both of its agreements with Israel and the terms under which the US recognized it and permitted it to operate missions on US soil.

The operation of the PLO’s missions in the US was contingent on periodic certification by the secretary of state that the PLO was not engaged in terrorism, including incitement of terrorism, was not encouraging the boycott of Israel and was not seeking to bypass its bilateral negotiations with Israel in order to achieve either diplomatic recognition or statehood. Under Obama, the State Department refused to acknowledge the PLO’s breach of all the conditions of US recognition.

Angry at the administration’s facilitation of PLO breaches, in 2015 Congress mandated stricter and more precise conditions for continued operation of the PLO’s mission in Washington. Starting in 2016, the PLO was explicitly banned from advocating the prosecution of Israelis by the International Criminal Court. In 2015 the PLO joined the ICC with the explicit purpose of advocating the prosecution of Israelis. And in conformance with this purpose, in his speech before the UN General Assembly in September 2017, PLO/PA chief Mahmoud Abbas called for the ICC to prosecute Israelis for building communities in Judea and Samaria.

Given his experience with US administrations since Clinton, Abbas had every reason to believe that he would suffer no repercussions for his statement. No US administration had ever called the PLO/PA to account for its open breach of the terms of US recognition. So it isn’t surprising that Abbas and his advisers were utterly shocked when on Friday, US Secretary of State Rex Tillerson sent a letter to the PLO mission in Washington informing PLO envoy Husam Zomlot that he could not renew certification of PLO compliance with US law in light of Abbas’s statement in September.

The only way for the mission to remain in place is if President Donald Trump certifies within 90 days that the PLO is engaged in “direct, meaningful negotiations with Israel.”

One of the primary functions of the PLO mission in Washington is to promote and fund the boycott movement against Israel – in contravention of the terms of its operation and the terms of its agreements with Israel.

In written testimony to the House Foreign Affairs subcommittee on the Middle East and North Africa in February, Jonathan Schanzer of the Foundation for Defense of Democracies revealed that the mission is “said to be actively promoting campus BDS [boycott, divestment and sanctions] activity in the US.”

“PLO operatives in Washington, DC,” Schanzer said, “are reportedly involved in coordinating the activities of Palestinian students in the US who receive funds from the PLO to engage in BDS activism. This, of course, suggests that the BDS movement is not a grassroots activist movement, but rather one that is heavily influenced by PLO-sponsored persons.”

In April 2016, Schanzer informed Congress that the PLO consulate in Chicago is a major funder of the BDS campus group Students for Justice in Palestine. The chairman of the US Coalition to Boycott Israel, which among other things funds BDS, is Ghassan Barakat, an official at the PLO’s Chicago consulate. His colleague, Senan Shaqdeh, is a member of the coalition. Shaqdeh also claims to be the founder of Students for Justice in Palestine, the antisemitic BDS group that operates on campuses throughout the US.

As Schanzer noted, in 2014 Shaqdeh traveled to Ramallah to meet with Abbas and PA Prime Minister Rami Hamdallah.

Aside from the fact that the US has refused to hold the PLO accountable for its actions for a quarter century, the PLO has another good reason to be shocked by Tillerson’s letter: the US consulate in Jerusalem operates as almost a mirror to the PLO mission in Washington.

The US consulate in Jerusalem has the same status as an embassy. Like the US ambassador in Tel Aviv, the US consul general in Jerusalem reports directly to the State Department. He is not accredited to Israel. His area of operations includes Jerusalem and its environs within and beyond the 1949 armistice lines, including Beit Shemesh, Mevasseret Zion, Judea and Samaria.

Israeli citizens who live within the consulate’s area of operations are not permitted to receive consular and visa services from the embassy in Tel Aviv. Among the hundreds of thousands of Israeli Jews that are required to receive US consular services from the consulate rather than the embassy are tens of thousands of Jewish dual nationals.

And yet, as Yisrael Medad has exhaustively documented, the Jerusalem consulate maintains an effective boycott of both these dual nationals and Israeli nationals who live in its area of operation. All of the consulate’s activities for US citizens are directed specifically and openly toward “Palestinian residents of Jerusalem and the West Bank.”

Consul General Donald Blome similarly directs all of his efforts toward reaching out to the Palestinians, ignoring as a regular practice the millions of Jews who live in his area of responsibility.

The consulate also openly rejects the notion that Israel and Jews have ties to its area of operations. For instance, Blome went on a hike around Judea and Samaria in July where he effectively erased the Jewish heritage sites in the areas. The consulate echoed UNESCO’s Jew-free version of the history of the land of Israel in a press release that celebrated his walk along the “Masar Ibrahim Al-Khalil” trail in celebration of “the connection of the people with the land.” Jews were not mentioned in the press release. And the historical name of the route he took is “Abraham’s path.”

Scholarships to study in the US and jobs listed on the website are open to “Palestinian residents of Jerusalem and the West Bank.”

In other words, while the PLO missions are pushing the BDS agenda in the US, the US consulate in Jerusalem is implementing it on the ground in Israel.

Tillerson’s letter to the PLO mission on Friday came two weeks before Trump will have to decide whether or not to sign a related waiver. On December 1, Trump will either allow the 1995 Jerusalem Embassy Act to come into force or he will sign a waiver postponing the embassy move for yet another six months.

In a congressional hearing on the issue of moving the embassy to Jerusalem on November 8, Rep. Ron DeSantis said that transfer of the embassy may be delayed due to the Trump administration’s “efforts to pursue a peace deal between Israel and the Palestinian Arabs.”

DeSantis argued that until the embassy is moved the Trump administration should take “incremental steps” that move it toward the goal.

Among the steps he advocated, DeSantis said “the American consulates in Jerusalem should report to the American embassy in Israel, not directly to the State Department.”

Tillerson’s letter to Zomlot was shocking because it represented the first time since 1993 that the PLO has been held accountable for its actions. The time has come for the State Department, too, to be held accountable for its behavior. And the best way to start this process is to follow DeSantis’s advice, subordinate the US consulates in Jerusalem to the US ambassador and end their boycott of Jews – US citizens and non-citizens – who live in the Jerusalem area, in Judea and Samaria.