TV report: Trump’s ambassador could work from Jerusalem, with embassy still in Tel Aviv


Channel 2 quotes Israeli diplomats on possible compromise, but CNN says incoming administration telling allies embassy will move


The US Consulate in Jerusalem's Talpiot neighborhood, adjoining a possible site for the US Embassy (Raphael Ahren/Times of Israel)
The US Consulate in Jerusalem’s Talpiot neighborhood (Raphael Ahren/Times of Israel)

Possible compromise over moving the US Embassy to Jerusalem could see Donald Trump’s ambassador working from an existing US consulate in the capital while the embassy itself remains in Tel Aviv, Israeli television reported on Tuesday.

Quoting unnamed Israeli Foreign Ministry officials, Channel 2 news said intended ambassador David Friedman, who has said he looks forward to working from the US embassy in Jerusalem, might instead merely work from the city with a small staff, while the Tel Aviv embassy remains intact and most of its operations and staff stay there.

The report noted that building contractors in neighborhoods near the existing consulate in Talpiot have received calls recently from would-be buyers seeking luxury homes for Americans.

In marked contrast to the talk of a compromise idea, however, CNN reported that Trump was pushing ahead with plans for the embassy move and telling allies that it will go ahead.

There is speculation the announcement of the move could be made on May 24, when Israel celebrates Jerusalem Day, marking the unification of the city in 1967, CNN reported on Tuesday. That date would be a few days before a waiver signed by President Barack Obama on moving the embassy expires.

European and Arab diplomats have warned Trump against the move, saying it could ignite the region. “It’s very dangerous,” a European diplomat told CNN.

Palestinian leaders on Tuesday called for prayers at mosques across the Middle East this week to protest plans by Trump to move the embassy.

Over the weekend, outgoing Secretary of State John Kerry warned that moving the embassy — and this effectively recognizing Israeli sovereignty in Jerusalem — would cause “an explosion” in the region and have a detrimental effect on Israel’s relationships with Jordan and Egypt.

In an interview with CBS News, Kerry said the move would cause “an explosion, an absolute explosion in the region, not just in the West Bank, and perhaps even in Israel itself, but throughout the region.”

It would also “have profound impact on the readiness of Jordan and Egypt to be able to be supportive and engaged with Israel as they are today,” he warned.

Trump and his team have spoken repeatedly of his intention to relocate the embassy to Israel’s capital, leading to wall-to-wall condemnations from Palestinian leaders.

On Friday the issue was the chief subject of religious sermons throughout the West Bank, with Palestinian Authority leadership instructing mosques it controls to focus on the matter, Israel Radio reported.

Official Palestinian television also broadcast excerpts from several such sermons, in which clerics urged their followers to wake up to the danger. One warned relocating the embassy would be an attack on the Muslim faith and against history. Another said it was an assault on Islam’s holy place and on Jerusalem’s Al-Aqsa Mosque.

Some Israeli reports have quoted relatives of the terrorist who rammed his truck into Israeli soldiers in East Talpiot on Sunday, killing four of them, had been impacted by one such sermon at his local mosque.

Palestinian Authority President Mahmoud Abbas on Friday warned Trump not to move the embassy. He invited Trump to visit the Palestinian territories, but also said: “We call on you not to implement your statement… because we consider it as an aggressive statement, when you say you want to move the embassy to Jerusalem.”

Those dire warnings went without response from the president elect and his designated secretary of state. However, they appear to have had some effect. DEBKAfile’s exclusive sources report that the transition team is examining a number of proposals, one of which is to make a start on clearing the ground at the future site of the US embassy in Jerusalem and then wait.

The US government purchased the site some years ago for this purpose.The plot, known as the Allenby Camp, which served as a British military compound after 1917, is large and stands empty in the southern Jerusalem neighborhood of Talpiot, adjacent to the Palestinian district of Jabal Muqabar and the mixed neighborhood of Abu Tor.

Another idea is to conduct a cornerstone-laying ceremony at the site – and then suspend construction. The Palestinians would have to reciprocate by calling off their international campaign for vilifying and delegitimizing the State of Israel at the UN as well as in world capitals. Construction of the US embassy would then remain on hold. But if the Palestinians continued their anti-Israel campaign, construction of the Jerusalem embassy would go forward.

Our sources report that the embassy transfer is just one item on a broad program President-elect Trump is putting together on the Israeli-Palestinian dispute, including its territorial aspects.

January 11, 2017 | 12 Comments » | 70 views

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12 Comments / 12 Comments

  1. Obviously Trump wasn’t prepared for the “bloodshed” to follow such a move. It could have affected his presidency. You don’t want to appear to be a bull in a china shop.

    He appears to use the threat of a move to achieve a change in the policies of the PA. Should they not be cowed, then he will blame the move on them. That’s assuming he will be ready to call them out on it.

    I would have preferred that he act resolutely and move the embassy in the near future as a means of changing the rules of the game. He should have upped the ante rather than reduce it. The Arabs must know that he means business and that they shouldn’t mess with him.

    Too bad. He sent the wrong message.

    I wonder if BB was behind this come down.

  2. Everyone reports rumors as facts and discusses them like they are facts. Fastest to move Embassy still is shingle on consulate saying Embassy. Ambassador works from there.

    All regular daily Embassy work with its large staff continues from Tel Avi. Dual Mission this is called. USA uses it in South Africa and elsewhere.

    If you want to build a full sized Embassy it would take 3 to 4 years to build.

    So let us wait to see what actually happens. Israeli media reports 2 and 3rd hand reports like they are facts.

    Wait for USA Abassador, Secretary of State, Trump or at least Conway to make a public declaration of what the plan to ascertain what is actually going to happen.

  3. Lot’s of BS the PA is totally dependent on American and Israeli aid… Totally already their donors have not come thru with 60% of promised transfers….

    Actual construction could take 3-4 years due to special requirements for such a major embassy.

    There is a long standing law directing the State Dept to move embassy with a presidential waver if such a move deemed to create violence etc. so they gave the president an out and they always use it conveniently. Congress could amend the law withdrawing the waiver if they were really serious.

    Arab governments have enough problems on their plates without getting into a fight with Trump and Israel… except for some Muslim religious leaders I don’t see any political fallout. Israel and America hold all the cards if they use them…

    BB is a coward and I am sure he would prefer the status quo but this isn’t BB’s call it’s Americas and Trumps. If Israel declars that Jerusalem is not our capital and it is really Tel Aviv that’s another story but Israel can’t have it both ways and be taken seriously….The Arabs will always threaten violence like they do with the Temple Mt.

    Let them make good on their threats and then beat the shit out of them both financially and militarily. Do it once and for all and it will change not only the ME but Israel for the better…. It is a good way for America to get back in the drivers seat in our region and to confront the expansion of Russia, radical Islamic elements including Hamas and Iran.

    Russia pulling forces out of Syria too expensive for broke Putin to maintain…. Russian influence in the region only made possible because of Obama’s retreat and support for Iran. That in any event should change with Trump….. In conclusion we should allow the Arabs to make good on their threats which are in MO empty threats especially if they are made aware of what the consequences will be be if they pursue their threats with actions.

  4. This afternoon I read a Jerusalem Post report reiterating the plan to move the Embassy to Jerusalem. According to the JP, the source is from within the President Elect Staff.
    I agree on that given a choice Netanyahu would scuttle that. Much as it was reported today that he intends to freeze the Regulation Law. Source, A-7.
    In the background lurks the fact that evidence is that Netanyahu and Mozes were willing to exchange more than cigars and brandy and that Mr. Adelson newspaper was at stake. Regrettably for Netanyahu, Mr. Adelson is a major donor to Mr. Trump’s campaign and likely to have presented to President Elect Trump details about the Mozes and Netanyahu “deals’ in the making.
    Thus from the above probably the disappearing invitation was on, if there ever was one.

  5. @ Bear Klein:
    Exactly: change the sign to “embassy’! Did I get the correct Consulate in this thread:

    (I post at PJM as Disappeared4X, and used the photo from 18 Agron Rd in my comment)

    So, DJT just started his press conference, after Spicer & Pence handled the trash from Buzzfeed so that DJT does not have to. Simultaneous is Tillerson’s confirmation hearing. He is like the sheriff who keeps everyone calm…G-d bless Texas!

  6. The embassy must be moved to Jerusalem. There is no choice. If the embassy is not moved, the Donald will lose his credibility in the eastern hemisphere (Europe and Asia) once and for all.

    On the other hand, he has nothing to lose by calling the bluff of all these nice politicians who keep saying that he is irresponsible and unpredictable.

  7. Sorry to say, but I just can’t get this hapless scenario out of my mind. And it causes me to believe that this is the prelude for testing the mettle of the USA, Israel and the PLO terrorists on the world stage. In the end, it will be said that moving the US embassy to Jerusalem is “not prudent at this time.” It will probably take the form of a joint statement early this year. That way, no one is to blame, no one is the weak link. But in actuality, when the curtains are parted, it will reveal Netanyahu and his government quaking with angst, imploring Trump to climb down from the big tree he created. “Is he trying to get us killed!?” Which still leaves the $64,000 question without an answer. What makes the status quo so attractive to so many Israelis? And why the heck are they unwilling to change it despite so much Jewish blood spilled in its name for almost 25 years?

  8. @ Dandaman:

    The last intifada took almost 5 years for Israel to subdue and it’s cost economically and diplomatically larger or as large as any of our major wars. Israel prefers to manage the conflict which is comparatively low cost and does not require BB and IDF to commit to massive use of force which might upset and endanger entrenched political positions of centers of power(BB gets to keep his position as PM with no serious outside or inside challenges.!!)

  9. @ yamit82:
    Yamit 82

    I agree with you `100%. The local Arab barbarians have no power to seriously incommode The USA, and Trump should do as he said he would.

    He probably has been as strong about moving the Embassy to Jerusalem as he has about anything else, perhaps even more so. If he reneges, even though as some suggest, that the consulate would act as the embassy but the real embassy would remain in Tel Aviv, he would lose face, and more than that, the confidence of some of his expectant allies and wanna-be- allies.

    The concept of letting the Arabs make a lot of trouble and then destroying their options for all time appeals to me and I hope to him too. He is not beholden to anyone ..except perhaps his family, and they are mostly, or all, including himself closely involved with Jews and Judaism.

  10. The US embassy must move to Jerusalem. Any Israeli suggesting less is an idiot. This would be giving into Islamic blackmail which must be stopped. But if Israel and the US refuse to confront blackmail, it will continue. Actually Bibi should get other countries (GB, Australia) to move simultaneously with the US and other countries.
    The Pal will continue their terrorist activities regardless of what Israel does or does not.

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