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Prof. Miriam Elman in WaPo: Move U.S. Embassy to Jerusalem, for peace sake

Prof. Miriam Elman in WaPo: Move U.S. Embassy to Jerusalem, for peace sake

Reversing U.S. diplomatic isolation of Jerusalem would be a “strong message” that would help the peace process.

Last week I was invited by an editor of The Washington Post’s Monkey Cage blog to contribute an article focusing on the issues surrounding president-elect Donald Trump’s pledge to move the U.S. embassy from Tel Aviv to Jerusalem.

The article, “Trump’s plan to move the U.S. Embassy to Jerusalem could help the peace process”, was published yesterday:

In it I argue that come this spring, President Trump shouldn’t sign the waiver provision of the 1995 Jerusalem Embassy Act and should instead move to implement the law because it would “bode well for Israeli-Palestinian peace prospects.”

As I highlighted in several prior LI posts (see here and here), both presidents Bill Clinton and George W. Bush made campaign promises to move the embassy, only to renege once they were in office.

But in the op-ed I note that Congress never intended for the waiver to be a “crutch for procrastination”. Further, the reasons that critics of the relocation give for delaying the move yet again—that it’ll unleash a wave of extremism; spark another Palestinian uprising; or drive a wedge between the United States and Arab states or Europe—simply don’t hold up.

I explain why these doomsday predictions are especially less true now that the United Nations Security Council (UNSC) passed resolution 2334 last week. In fact, UNSCR 2334 makes it even more likely that Trump will honor his campaign promise. Here’s an excerpt:

relocating the embassy allows the Trump administration to reinforce that, unlike the Obama administration, it doesn’t consider settlements the key obstacle to peace. Trump will be particularly keen to make this distinction after the U.S. abstention on Friday’s United Nations Security Council Resolution 2334 – which effectively declares illegal all Israeli presence beyond the 1949 armistice lines, including east Jerusalem.”

The goal of the Monkey Cage blog is to show how political science research can be used in public policy debates and how insights from this scholarship can help us to make sense of controversial topics. So in my op-ed I chose to apply conflict resolution theory to the issue of the U.S. embassy move, and showed how this approach lends support to Trump’s relocation plan:

a careful look at conflict resolution theory suggests that moving the embassy could be a constructive move, pushing Israelis and Palestinians back to negotiations.”

Bottom line: conflict resolution theorists have long argued that making clear, credible commitments is essential to peacemaking. Reversing the longtime U.S. diplomatic isolation of Jerusalem could prove a good example of how such ‘strong messages’ can serve the cause of peace.

Head over to The Washington Post to read the whole article. And share it widely on Facebook and Twitter, or email it to friends, using the link at Monkey Cage.

Miriam F. Elman is an associate professor of political science at the Maxwell School of Citizenship & Public Affairs at Syracuse University and is a research director in the Program for the Advancement of Research in Conflict and Collaboration (PARCC). She is the co-editor of “Jerusalem: Conflict and Cooperation in a Contested City,” (Syracuse University Press, 2014). Follow her on Twitter @MiriamElman


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Elections have their consequences and so do wars of extermination. The international community would be resistant to bringing back German borders of 1941 just as the US would be against bringing back the borders to pre-1756 or pre-1848 (although many want California to be Mexico again… including the actions of Jerry Brown). Allowing the loser to define the terms of victory is a modern day mis-construct. The Obama administration has shown that continued reliance on the USA is now at peril if or when Democrats regain control. The next 4 years are needed to solidify.. as much as possible…. the integrity of Israel. Moving the capital is a must. If a two state solution is a goal… complete disarmament of Gaza and West Bank is absolute. If the Palestinians want true peace… prove it.

Alright, already. Calling anything which happens in that part of the world a “peace process” is about as intellectually rigorous as a belief that someday Santa’s sleigh and flying reindeer will be given an FAA airworthiness certificate.

    alaskabob in reply to tom swift. | December 30, 2016 at 5:21 pm

    But we do have a President named after the flying horse (Buraq) that brought The Prophet (PBUH.. or else) to Jerusalem.

When Iran gets the bomb, Jerusalem will be much safer than Tel-aviv. Diplomats in Tel-aviv would deserve hazardous duty pay.


You can’t READ the WaPo…much less WRITE a thoughtful article for them…

What kind of traitor are you…???


But seriously, taking the issue off the terrorism table by settling the Jerusalem deal (to the extent that’s even possible) would be a great step in the right direction. A step that should have been taken LONG ago.

“Jerusalem is the capital of Israel. Now, let’s see what else we can settle.”

Perhaps you Prof. Elman with your studies and interlocking research of people, conflict and resolution have more in common with Pres. Elect Trump than at first glance.

His study of people, conflict and resolution; You with your research you write papers for education. He processes and executes in real time and then recaps his out comes in “The Art of The Deal”. Different routes; Same destination.

Because both routes are bold, direct, and straight forward, it explains why two administrations both having had two terms, fumbled and fouled on all the plays made. Neither knew how to read and execute the play book. One more than the other didn’t even know the game.

Excellent article Prof. Elman. Thoroughly researched as usual, and you approached the problem from a different angle to the norm. Perhaps some of the regular readers at the WaPo might even be persuaded?! Tis the season for miracles after all! 🙂