U.S. President Donald Trump’s recognition of Jerusalem as the capital of Israel on Dec. 6 was not a political move, but rather the fulfillment of a true intention. The same goes for his decision on Friday to move the U.S. Embassy to Jerusalem on May 14, as part of the celebrations marking 70 years since the founding of Israel. The American announcement proves to the world that Trump doesn’t just make promises, he takes action. Remember his remarks two weeks ago in a special interview to Israel Hayom – that recognizing our “wonderful” capital was the high point of his first year in the White House? He meant every word he said to me in the Oval Office.
Trump is the best thing to happen to Israel in recent years, after predictions that we had “lost America.” Between us, history will decide – not the studio pundits who miss the loud voice of former U.S. President Barack Obama. Those same pundits explained just a few days ago that there was a divide between the White House and the Israeli government after Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu “lied” to the president about construction in Judea and Samaria. Divide? At the most, it was a misunderstanding that was fixed within a matter of hours.
These are also the same analysts who explained that Trump wouldn’t win the 2016 election, and afterward explained with the utmost gravity that he would never recognize Jerusalem, and therefore never move the embassy. I’m curious to know what they’ll say now – will they make threats about the heavy pressure that will be exerted on us as part of the peace deal Trump is putting together? Maybe they’ll try to cast doubt on the American president’s brave ties with the Jewish people because he hasn’t yet moved to the Efrat settlement?
It’s astonishing (or not) to see that this joyful, groundbreaking announcement was just the third or fourth report on the Saturday evening news broadcasts, with the worried anchor wondering if it was a gift or a complication. Everybody can calm down. The American president gave us a wonderful present for our 70th birthday. In terms of history, Trump is the gift – Obama was the complication.
Just like former U.S. President Harry Truman, who recognized the state of Israel 11 minutes after it was founded, Trump found himself facing objections to the move, including from his own White House staff. “I can understand why many other presidents bailed on their promise because tremendous pressure was put on them not to do it. The other presidents, all of them have failed in the promise even though they made it as a campaign promise but I understand it because I will tell you, the lobbying against it was tremendous,” he told me in the interview.
There were some including European leaders who tried to explain that an American move like this one would undermine the peace process and even cause unrest. As if all the years in which the U.S. Embassy has been in Tel Aviv were years of calm, without terrorist attacks. Other than that, we all know the peace process isn’t exactly going well. In any case, Trump hopes that he has taken Jerusalem off the table, or at least made the Palestinians’ radical demands irrelevant, as the overwhelming majority of Israelis believe them to be.
The hope is that the U.S. move will compel the Palestinians to realize that the rules have changed and become more flexible. We should always remember that even when the peace process was at its peak, when various speeches cast Israelis and Palestinians as relatives (cousins, brothers), the Palestinian demand to divide Jerusalem and allow the right of return was always lurking in the background to torpedo any move. Trump understood that immediately.
You need to be in the White House and hear the president and those around him to understand what historic days these are. How lucky we are that Trump has good advisers who love us. Yes, most of the mainstream thinks differently, but most of the mainstream also thinks that Jerusalem should be divided. We don’t take directions from them.
The Turks and the Palestinians have condemned the embassy move on the grounds that Washington is losing its credibility as a mediator. Some of them are even threatening that the move will set the Middle East on fire. For now, the only thing I see lighting up is the torch Trump will light this coming Independence Day. He deserves to! And we deserve this.