U.S. Embassy Move in Israel Emblematic of Broader Policy Shift

(AP-Washington Post) Josh Lederman and Matthew Lee - When the Stars and Stripes is hoisted over the new U.S. Embassy in Jerusalem next month it will be a physical milestone in a broader, striking shift by the Trump administration away from a half-century of traditional U.S. policy toward Israel and the Palestinians. For decades, Washington has tried to position itself as a neutral party in the conflict. Yet the May 14 move of the embassy from Tel Aviv will be just the latest in a series of steps the administration has taken that have delighted Israelis and angered Palestinians. President Donald Trump has recognized Jerusalem as Israel's capital over Palestinian objections and slashed American aid to the Palestinians. Just last week, the administration signaled it may be moving away from describing the West Bank as "occupied," and has steadfastly avoided any public comments critical of Israel related to the mass protests along the Israel-Gaza border. Taken together, the moves indicate that Trump intends to make good on his pro-Israel campaign promises. Whereas previous administrations have gone out of their way to appear evenhanded, Trump has made no secret of his affinity for Israeli positions. The White House pushes back on criticism that the administration has been unfair to the Palestinians. A senior official pointed to Trump himself having made an Israeli-Palestinian peace deal a priority and assigned some of his most trusted advisers to the task. The official also noted that the White House last month convened an international conference to discuss humanitarian assistance in Gaza.

2018-04-25 00:00:00

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