by Ambassador (ret.) Yoram Ettinger
1. The recognition of Jerusalem as the capital of the Jewish State, and the site of the US Embassy, reflects a realistic assessment of Middle East/Arab priorities, notwithstanding official Arab statements. Thus, the Arab walk – unlike the Arab talk – does not consider Jerusalem and the Palestinian issues to be nearly as critical as are the clear, present and lethal threats to all pro-US Arab regimes, which are posed by Iran’s Ayatollahs, ISIS, the Muslim Brotherhood and other Islamic terrorists; the regional powder kegs in Iraq, Syria, Yemen and Libya; and the inherent turbulence throughout the tectonic Middle East with many potential eruptions (in Jordan, Egypt, etc.) of devastating, anti-US lava.
2. Recognizing Jerusalem as Israel’s capital, and relocating the US Embassy to Jerusalem - as prescribed by the 1995 Jerusalem Embassy Act - represent the resolve to focus on US interests in accordance with Middle East reality, while defying Arab pressure/threats and overruling the conventional “wisdom” of the State Department bureaucracy.
3. Relocating the US Embassy to Jerusalem underscores the reassertion of the US independent and unilateral – rather than multilateral - action. It distinguishes the US President, most members of the House and the Senate and most constituents from the UN state-of-mind, the European vacillation and the worldview of the “elite” media and think tanks.
4. Relocating the US Embassy to Jerusalem signals the determination to resurrect the US posture of deterrence. It reflects the realization that passivity and retreats in face of Arab/Islamic pressure and threats of terrorism has fueled violence. On the other hand, defiance of pressure and threats deters rogue elements, while generating tailwind to and security, stability and moderation.
5. Palestinian hate-education and terrorism were fueled by the December 1988 US recognition of the PLO, the 1993 Oslo Accord Israeli unprecedented concessions to the Palestinians and the 2005 Israel’s uprooting of Jewish communities from Gaza. The latter already triggered three Israel-Hamas wars (2008/2009 – Operation Cast Lead, 2012 – Operation Pillar of Defense and 2014 – Operation Protective Edge). On the other hand, and contrary to assessments made by the State Department, the 2011 US veto of a UN Security Council condemnation of Israel’s settlements policy did not trigger anti-US terrorism.
6. The non-implementation of the October 1995 Jerusalem Embassy Act has not advanced the peace process. In fact, it has radicalized Arab expectations, forcing them to outflank the US from the maximalist side. Moreover, the US cave-in did not prevent the November 1995 Islamic car bomb, murdering five Americans in Riyadh; the June 1996 blowing up of the Saudi Khobar Towers with 19 US Air Force personnel murdered; the August 1998 blowing up of the US Embassies in Kenya and Tanzania, murdering 224 persons; the October 2000 blowing up of the USS Cole destroyer in the port of Aden, murdering 17 US sailors; the 9/11 Twin Towers massacre, etc.. It has undermined the US posture of deterrence, which is a prerequisite for the US national and homeland security, as well as global sanity.
7. The relocation of the US Embassy from Tel Aviv to Jerusalem undermines the assumption that procrastination (in the Israel-Palestinian negotiation) serves the cause of the Palestinian Authority.
8. The relocation of the US Embassy from Tel Aviv to Jerusalem is consistent with the US ethos from the 17th century Early Pilgrims and the 18th century Founding Fathers – who considered Jerusalem “the shining city on the hill” - until today. It is reflected through the 18 and 32 US towns and cities bearing the names Jerusalem and Salem (Shalem was the original Biblical name of Jerusalem) and by… the spelling of JerUSAlem.