Sound more like threats than predictions.
Donald Trump has promised, both himself and through surrogates, to move the U.S. Embassy from Tel Aviv to Jerusalem.
That move, long promised by American presidents but never implemented, would have particular importance in light of UN Security Council Resolution 2334, which the Obama administration pushed behind the scenes and allowed to pass by abstaining.
That Resolution purports to declare illegal the Jewish presence even in place such as the Jewish Quarter of the Old City of Jerusalem, which was captured by Jordan after Israel declared independence, and then ethnically cleansed of Jews. That ethnic cleansing of Jew along with ransacking and destruction of Jewish religious places, even cemeteries, was remedied when Israel recaptured the area in 1967 after Jordan attacked Israel in support of Egypt and Syria. Israel also recaptured the Western Wall, the holiest place in Judaism at which Jews are permitted to pray. The UN Resolution declares Israeli control over the Western Wall illegal as well.
While Resolution 2334 does not have force of law because it was not issued under UN Charter Chapter 7, it nonetheless has substantial political impact.
As Glenn Kessler, the Washington Post fact-checker notes, John Kerry was not accurate when he claimed that this declaration as to these Jewish sites was consistent with prior administrations:
The administration can point to 25 UNSC resolutions, between 1971 and 1994, that included some reference to Jerusalem, 1967 or occupied territories. In virtually all cases, the reference was not in an operative paragraph but in the preamble; many of these resolutions were on distinct events (such as the shooting of Palestinian youth or expulsions of Palestinians) that had alarmed the international community. There also was no specific reference to “East Jerusalem.”
The last time a resolution was approved by the Security Council with phrasing concerning Jerusalem and occupied territories in a key operative paragraph was in 1980 — during the Jimmy Carter administration, when Obama was a college student….
Back in 1980, the Israelis and Palestinians were not even negotiating directly. Since then, the Oslo Accords of 1993 between Israel and the Palestine Liberation Organization set in place a process under which settlements were to be discussed and negotiated as part of final status negotiations. That’s a key reason no resolution was passed with even this language in the preamble between 1994 and now. The last time, in 1994, the United States sought a rare paragraph-by-paragraph vote on the resolution to make clear its opposition to the Jerusalem language.
Indeed, then-U.N. Ambassador Madeleine Albright said the United States would oppose the assertion of Jerusalem as “occupied” in future resolutions because it was a matter for negotiations:
“We simply do not support the description of the territories occupied by Israel in the 1967 war as ‘occupied Palestinian territory.’ In the view of my Government, this language could be taken to indicate sovereignty, a matter which both Israel and the PLO have agreed must be decided in negotiations on the final status of the territories. As agreed between them, those negotiations will begin not later than two years after the implementation of the Declaration of Principles.”
Kellyanne Conway recently said moving the Embassy remained a high priority:
Congress is getting involved, ready to vote no only on resolutions rejecting UN Resolution 2334, but also trying to force the State Department bureaucracy to get moving, as the Free Beacon reports:
A delegation of Republican senators is moving forward with an effort to freeze some funding to the State Department until the U.S. embassy in Israel is formally moved to Jerusalem, according to new legislation.
The legislation comes as the Obama administration continues to face criticism over its behind-the-scenes effort to forward a United Nations resolution condemning Israel.
The Obama administration, like previous administrations, does not formally recognize Jerusalem as Israel’s capital city and has worked to stymie efforts to move the U.S. embassy there.While Congress first approved legislation to move the U.S. embassy to Jerusalem in 1995, the new bill threatens to cut State Department funding until the relocation is complete.
The effort is being spearheaded by Sens. Ted Cruz (R., Texas), Marco Rubio (R., Fla.), and Dean Heller (R., Nev.), all of whom support efforts by the incoming Trump administration to move the U.S. embassy to Jerusalem after years of debate.
Prof. Miriam Elman suggested an Op-Ed at WaPo argued that the move would encourage peace:
“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.””
Law Professor and expert in international law Eugene Kontorovich has a column today, also at WaPo, explaining how important the move of the Embassy to Jerusalem would be, and suggests (and I agree) that the Embassy be located beyond the 1949 armistice (pre-1967 lines), Five ways the Trump administration can negate the anti-Israel U.N. Security Council resolution:
2) The United States should move the embassy not merely to Jerusalem, but to the location of the current Consular Section in the Arnona neighborhood. This is a few hundred meters over the imaginary line across which the United Nations says Jews may not go. Moving the embassy there would be the most tangible rejection of the resolution’s “1967 lines” policy. It would also fulfill the Republican Party platform of moving the embassy to “indivisible” Jerusalem, and be in accordance with the 1995 Jerusalem Embassy Act, which calls for moving the embassy to a “unified” Jerusalem, i.e., including those parts which were reunified in 1967.
Against this background of increasing likelihood that the Trump administration will actually move the Embassy with overwhelming congressional backing, erasing part of the symbolic victory of Resolution 2334, the Palestinian leadership is threatening consequences, including violence.
Saeb Erekat, one of the negotiators for the Palestinian Authority, predicted violence against U.S. Embassies:
Speaking on a conference call organized by the Wilson Center policy forum in Washington, DC regarding expectations from the Trump administration, Erekat reeled off a list of what he said would be the consequences of President-elect Donald Trump honoring his campaign pledge and relocating the US embassy from Tel Aviv to Jerusalem.
Erekat said he would immediately resign as the chief Palestinian negotiator, and that “the PLO will revoke its recognition of Israel” as well as all previously signed agreements with Israel.
Furthermore, said Erekat, all American embassies in the Arab world would be forced to close — not necessarily because Arab leaderships would want to close them, but because the infuriated public in the Arab world would not “allow” for the embassies to continue to operate.
Another senior Palestinian official from the ruling Fatah Party was more blunt, as MEMRI reports, Fatah Official Sultan Abu Al-Einein: Transfer of U.S. Embassy to Jerusalem Will Lead to Renewed Bloodshed:
This all comes on top of earlier threats by Palestinian leadership to make Trump’s life “miserable” if the Embassy was moved, Palestinian UN Envoy threatens Trump: If US Moves Embassy to Jerusalem We’ll ‘Make Their Life Miserable’:
The Palestinian ambassador to the United Nations, Riyad Mansour, said in Washington on Friday that if President-elect Donald Trump moves the U.S. Embassy to Jerusalem the Palestinians would “make life miserable” for the United States at the United Nations.
“If people attack us by moving the embassy to Jerusalem, which is a violation of Security Council resolutions, it is a violation of resolution 181 of the UN general assembly that was drafted by the U.S. … it means they are showing belligerency towards us … If they do that nobody should blame us for unleashing all of the weapons that we have in the UN to defend ourselves and we have a lot of weapons in the UN,” Mansour said.
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