U.S. Policy on Recognizing Israel's Capital

(Jerusalem Center for Public Affairs) Amb. Alan Baker - Ahead of the upcoming visit of President Trump to Israel, the U.S. Jerusalem consulate staff, part of the White House advance team, charged that the area of the Western Wall is not Israel's territory. The U.S. Jerusalem consulate is perceived by the State Department as being the informal U.S. embassy to the Palestinians. It is high time that the role and the activity of the U.S. Jerusalem consulate, including the attitude of its staff, be placed under serious review, with the aim of bringing them into line with the U.S. relationship with Israel. According to media reports, some U.S. officials have warned the White House that recognizing Jerusalem as Israel's capital would be "harmful to the peace process and carry broader regional risks." As long as the Administration allows itself to be intimidated by threats, it cannot expect to be considered credible regarding this or any other issue that may come up in the political negotiating process. The effectiveness of such intimidation in limiting the actions of the Administration will, of necessity, be viewed by the Palestinian leadership and Arab states as American weakness and a green light for maximalist demands. It will serve as a precedent for any other controversial issue and is tantamount to allowing external elements to dictate to the U.S. president. The writer, Director of the Institute for Contemporary Affairs at the Jerusalem Center, served as legal adviser and deputy director-general of Israel's Ministry of Foreign Affairs and participated in the negotiation and drafting of the Oslo Accords with the Palestinians.

2017-05-19 00:00:00

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