This week, President Trump broke with decades of foreign policy precedent and endangered an entire region by moving America’s embassy in Israel to the contested holy city of Jerusalem. This move is seen as an attempt to pander to conservative Israelis and supportive American Jews, at the expense of many of America’s Muslim population and Middle Eastern allies.
Trump explained the decision, which he called “nothing more or less than a recognition of reality.” Indeed, Israel operates with Jerusalem as its capitol; America has kept its embassy in Tel Aviv rather than Jerusalem as a symbolic concession to Muslims in the region.
Trump gave a speech explaining the move.
“When I came into office, I promised to look at the world’s challenges, with open eyes and very fresh thinking. We cannot solve our problems by making the same failed assumptions and repeating the same failed strategies of the past,” Trump began. “All challenges demand new approaches. My announcement today marks the beginning of a new approach to conflict between Israel and the Palestinians.”
“For decades visiting American presidents, secretaries of state, and military leaders have met their Israeli counterparts in Jerusalem, as I did on my trip to Israel earlier this year,” he continued. “Jerusalem is not just the heart of three great religions, but it is now also the heart of one of the most successful democracies in the world. Over the past seven decades, the Israeli people have built a country where Jews, Muslims, and Christians, and people of all faiths, are free to live and worship according to their conscience and according to their beliefs.”
“In fact, we have declined to acknowledge any Israeli capital at all, but today we finally acknowledge the obvious, that Jerusalem is Israel’s capital. This is nothing more or less than a recognition of reality. It is also the right thing to do. It’s something that has to be done. That is why, consistent with the Jerusalem Embassy Act, I am also directing the State Department to begin preparation to move the American Embassy from Tel Aviv to Jerusalem. This will immediately begin the process of hiring architects, engineers and planners, so that a new embassy, when completed, will be a magnificent tribute to peace.”