As Trump looks to move embassy, a Mideast expert puts out a plan of action

T. Belman. This analysis is way off base for a number of reasons. Can anyone point to a legal document which gives the Arab countries a say in the matter? As for the Palestinians, the Oslo Accords give them right to have Jerusalem as a final status issue. But so long as they are in violation of its terms they have no standing to demand this. Israel can at anytime cancel the Accords and do what she pleases.

I would remind you that Res 242 is silent on Jerusalem.

Satloff is showing way too much deference to the Arabs. That’s what the US has always done. She did the same thing in Res 242 by requiring Israel to withdraw from territories rather than to consider the ceasefire lines the new borders. Thereafter at the behest of the Arabs, she forced Israel into the Oslo Accords and required Israel to invite the return of Arafat. And on and on.

Washington Institute’s Robert Satloff writes policy memo on how to relocate the embassy without setting off an international crisis


WASHINGTON — If President-elect Donald Trump follows through on his campaign pledge to move the US Embassy from Tel Aviv to Jerusalem, he should do it quickly and adeptly, according to a report by a prominent Middle East scholar.

The paper to be released Tuesday by Robert Satloff, who heads the Washington Institute for Near East Policy, examines ways that Trump can fulfill his pledge without prompting violent unrest or a diplomatic crisis in the region.

For Trump, the question is how to deliver something the last three successive United States presidents went to great lengths to avoid. Satloff has laid out what he believes to be the answer in his new policy memo that presents a series of recommendations on how to execute the relocation.

Critics of moving the embassy have argued it would hurt America’s ability to work with the Palestinians, rupture its relationship with other Arab governments and make the Israeli-Palestinian issue a central focus when more pressing regional conflicts demand greater attention.

They have also primarily argued that it would escalate volatility in the region. Palestinian leaders have warned it will “open the gates of hell.”

But Satloff says this is “essentially a condescending view of Arabs and Muslims that assumes they will react mindlessly to incendiary calls to violence” that does not “reflect a net assessment that includes the potential impact of subtle, creative, and at times forceful American diplomacy.”

In his “action plan” for the move, Satloff says the first step should be to have private, high-level consultations between the US and Israel to work out the mechanics. The US should then make its announcement and begin the process promptly.

“The relocation should be publicly announced as soon as possible after the consultations are satisfactorily concluded,” he said. “Otherwise, opponents of the new US policy will have time to gather their resources and put obstacles in its way.”

Beyond timing and security, one of the primary recommendations Satloff makes deals with the actual location of the facility in Jerusalem, which he says should be situated inside the municipal boundaries that has been controlled by Israel since 1948, and not in the parts of the city that were captured in the 1967 Six Day War.

It is imperative, he argues, that the US is able to present the new physical setting of the embassy as having “no direct impact on negotiations to resolve disputes” over the permanent status of Jerusalem.

Another dimension of that decision, Satloff says, is that it would allow Trump to say the move aims to repair what he described as the “historic injustice of America’s failure to recognize any sovereign Israeli presence in Jerusalem since the country’s founding.”

But Satloff calls on the administration not to link the announcement to the fiftieth anniversary of the Six Day War this June, which Israel hails as the “unification of Jerusalem.”

That linkage, Satloff said, would discredit the claim that the new embassy aims to rectify the wrong of not placing the US Embassy in the nation’s capital after the modern State of Israel was established.

According to Satloff, building a new structure in pre-1967 territory would be a better alternative than the option of redesignating the current US consulate-general facility as the new embassy.

Nevertheless, Satloff recommended in his memo, of which The Times of Israel received an advance copy, that the US needs to inform its Arab allies of its plans and place those discussions as a part of a broader policy agenda.

Trump’s diplomatic team should sell the move as a “reaffirmation of America’s commitment to allies and its willingness to take bold steps to give meaning to those alliances,” he said.

President Barack Obama has been criticized for not strenuously enough defending US allies in the region, including Israel and Saudi Arabia.

The incoming president needs to also make clear to Palestinian Authority President Mahmoud Abbas that the move does not impact any final status issues of an ultimate two-state deal, while putting pressure on him to work toward “preventing, not provoking violence, from which only radicals, especially Hamas, can benefit.”

Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu meets with Palestinian president Mahmoud Abbas during the state funeral of late president Shimon Peres, held at Mt. Herzl, in Jerusalem on September 30, 2016. (Amos Ben Gershom/GPO)
Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu meets with Palestinian president Mahmoud Abbas during the state funeral of late president Shimon Peres, held at Mt. Herzl, in Jerusalem on September 30, 2016. (Amos Ben Gershom/GPO)

Satloff also said that Trump should make clear that any “failure to adopt a constructive approach toward the embassy relocation would ensure that Abbas does not receive an invitation to visit the new president in the White House.”

Trump, who as a candidate vowed to move the embassy during his address at last year’s AIPAC Policy Conference, has indicated during the transition that he will follow through on that promise.

While past presidents like Bill Clinton and George W. Bush also vowed on the campaign trail to move the embassy, they did not deliver once they assumed the responsibilities of conducting foreign policy.

In 1995, Congress adopted a resolution, led by former House speaker and current Trump confidant Newt Gingrich, that called on the president to move the embassy. But each presidency since then has repeatedly used the prerogative granted to them to delay implementation of that demand.

The current waiver expires in May 2017.

Each president since then, including Obama, has maintained that the future status of Jerusalem should be settled in final negotiations between the parties, as both Israelis and Palestinians claim the holy city as their rightful capital.

Donald Trump and attorney David Friedman exit the Federal Building, following an appearance in US Bankruptcy Court on February 25, 2010, in Camden, New Jersey. (Bradley C Bower/Bloomberg News, via Getty Images / JTA)
Donald Trump and attorney David Friedman exit the Federal Building, following an appearance in US Bankruptcy Court on February 25, 2010, in Camden, New Jersey. (Bradley C Bower/Bloomberg News, via Getty Images / JTA)

But Trump has indicated he will break with those practices. In December, he nominated longtime friend and attorney David Friedman to be the next US ambassador to Israel.

In a statement announcing the selection, Friedman, a vocal supporter and donor to Israeli settlements in the West Bank, said he expected to carry out his duties in “Israel’s eternal capital, Jerusalem.”

There have also been reports that Trump’s advisers are already in the process of planning the relocation. Campaign manager and soon-to-be White House counselor Kellyanne Conway has said it is “a very big priority for him.”

And earlier this month,Texas Sen. Ted Cruz (R), Florida Sen. Marco Rubio (R) and Nevada Sen. Dean Heller (R) proposed the Jerusalem Embassy and Recognition Act, which urges Trump to recognize Jerusalem as Israel’s capital and move the US embassy there.

January 19, 2017 | 5 Comments » | 72 views

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  1. All the more reason to change US Jerusalem consulate to Embassy. Why was the complex built on that site in 2003? Can not be a coincidence.

  2. Scripture declares that anyone dividing Israel will have their own house divided. Palestinians have no history beyond 1967 and therefore no historical claim on Jerusalem.

  3. From the American proposal at the Paris Peace Talks:
    ” It is recommended that the Jews be invited to return to Palestine and settle there, being assured by the Conference of all proper assistance in so doing … and being further assured that it will be the policy of the League of Nations to recognise Palestine as soon as it is a Jewish state in fact ” Article 7 of the 1933 Montevideo Convention on the rights and obligations of states provides: “The recognition of a state may be express or tacit. The latter results from any act which implies the intention of recognizing the new state.”
    It follows that the confirmations and approvals of the Mandate for Palestine was a tacit recognition of the Jewish State that included Jerusalem as its capital. The confirmations and approvals were signed by both Presidents Harding and Coolidge. The recent passport decision of the US Supreme Court relied on the holding of the US Court of Appeals to the effect that no US President had recognized the Jewish State — but they apparently were misled by the myth that the legal roots of Israel only went back only to 1948 to the Partition Resolution of the General Assembly. I had suggested to the lawyers for the appellant the foregoing view but it was ignored.

  4. David Friedman should have been shown arriving in JERUSALEM today thur. jan. 19. be seen arriving at the current building a.m sun. jan 21 8am ready for a days work. item 1 on his agenda to remove any association of the ‘e’ JERUSALEM consulate from any Jordanian relationship, remove all non ISRAELI staff. Doing This Will Send A Correct Message. all the other work eg; transfer of papers, required employees, signs etc. can be done at a pace suiting the TRUMP era. next item all passports, birth certificates to be replaced, corrected with correct birth, issue location.

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