On Monday, at least three road signs to the US Embassy went up directing travellers to 14 David Flusser Street in the Armon Hanatziv neighborhood of Jerusalem. The signs, written in Hebrew, Arabic and English point to the current US Consulate building that will be repurposed into the temporary site of the embassy officially opening for business on May 14, Israel’s 70th anniversary on the Gregorian calendar.
Nir Barkat, the mayor of Jerusalem, was so enthusiastic that he personally helped with posting the new signs and thanked US President Donald Trump for turning this dream of the Jewish people into a reality.
Jerusalem is the eternal capital of the Jewish people – and the world is beginning to recognize this fact!
— Mayor Nir Barkat (@NirBarkat) May 7, 2018
Road signs that are a bland public amenity in other countries are hotly politicized in Israel, particularly in Jerusalem. Reuters reported that the signs frequently are the targets of vandalism with Jews spray-painting over the Arabic and Arabs spray-painting over the Hebrew. It is feared that the embassy signs will be the focus of vandalism by Arabs who object to Jerusalem being recognized as Israel’s capital.
“We’re not guarding the embassy signs but of course there is upgraded security around the embassy which is already being implemented,” an Israeli Police spokesman said in a report in The Independent. “There are also new CCTV cameras that have been set up in the area. The perimeter and all movement in the area are being closely watched.”
Trump made the embassy move part of his campaign platform when he ran for office in 2016. This promise was the focus of much conjecture until President Trump’s historic speech in December, recognizing Jerusalem as the eternal capital of the Jewish People and of the modern State of Israel.
The newly-appointed US Secretary of State Mike Pompeo reiterated this status of Jerusalem during a visit to Israel last week.
“By recognising Jerusalem as the capital of Israel and the seat of its government, we’re recognising reality,” Pompeo said to the press. “I also stress…the boundaries of Israeli sovereignty in Jerusalem remain subject to negotiations between the parties, and we remain committed to achieving a lasting and comprehensive peace that offers a brighter future for both Israel and the Palestinians.”
Negotiated borders are currently an optimistic perception of the situation. Palestinian Authority officials refused to meet with US representatives who have come to the region in recent months. Last month, PA Chairman Mahmoud Abbas said the PA will not accept any US peace plan. Pompeo did not seek to meet with PA representatives during his visit, preempting any snub they may have considered.