After a Biblically significant 70-year gap since an American president first recognized the state of Israel, White House sources announced on Wednesday that President Donald Trump will recognize Jerusalem as Israel’s capital, and that the US State Department will begin making plans to move its embassy from Tel Aviv.
“On December 6, 2017, President Trump will recognize that Jerusalem is the capital of Israel,” White House officials announced to the media.
“While President Trump recognizes that the status of Jerusalem is a highly sensitive issue, he does not think it will be resolved by ignoring the truth that Jerusalem is home to Israel’s legislature, its Supreme Court, the Prime Minister’s residence, and as such, it is the capital of Israel,” one of the officials said.
The official said that Trump will officially recognize Jerusalem as Israel’s capital but will delay the opening of the embassy for at least six months.
The decision was sealed after President Trump called Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu, Palestinian Authority (PA) President Mahmoud Abbas, Jordan’s King Abdullah, Egyptian President Abdel-Fattah al-Sissi, and Saudi King Salman to inform them of his upcoming announcement.
MK Yehudah Glick called the move “historically significant”, noting that Trump’s decision to recognize Jerusalem as a capital comes exactly 70 years after his predecessor President Harry Truman recognized Israel as a state.
“I think this is as historically significant as President Truman recognizing the state of Israel 13 minutes after [Prime Minister David] Ben Gurion declared a state exactly 70 years ago. This is not just for Israel but is part of a universal process. God willing, other nations will follow suit. Our dream is that the entire world will recognize Jerusalem as the city of God,” he told Breaking Israel News.
Incredibly, the White House announcement comes on the Hebrew date the 17th of Kislev, the same date on which the UN General Assembly adopted the Partition Plan for Palestine creating the state of Israel in 1947.
Seventy years is Biblically significant as the length of the Babylonian exile.
The prophesied 70-year timeline is figured according to the Jews return to Jerusalem, beginning with the destruction of Solomon’s Temple and ending when the Jews dedicated the Second Temple. Just as the Jewish exile to Babylonia did not end until the connection with Jerusalem was reestablished, the current return to Israel will not be considered complete until the connection with its eternal capital is set firm.
Marc Zell, head of the Republican party in Israel, was optimistic that the move would be beneficial to the region.
“This is a step towards reality,” the Trump insider told Breaking Israel News. “For 70 years, America has been deluding itself that an unratified UN Security Council resolution declaring Jerusalem as an international city will somehow bring peace. The reality is that all of Israel’s government is in Jerusalem. Trump is trying to change the direction of Israel-Palestinian relations by changing a policy that has failed horribly all this time.”
Like Glick, Zell sees a larger, underlying motive behind the move, one that he believes will be successful to an unprecedented degree.
“This is changing the paradigm for the entire Middle East, not just for Israel’s sake,” Zell said. “This comes from a need to confront Iran which is the major source of instability and the major obstacle to peace in the region. This is going to prevent Iran from exerting hegemony over the region and is part of a larger plan to prevent Iran from acquiring nuclear weapons.”
The announcement kicked off a strong negative response from the Palestinians and Arab world in general, with many leaders threatening violence and terror. Abbas responded to the development by warning ominously that President Trump’s actions would have “dangerous consequences”. The PA announced three ‘Days of Rage’ with major demonstrations being planned on Wednesday in Jenin and on Thursday in Ramallah.
However, while Hamas called for an intifada should Trump change Jerusalem’s status, a senior Palestinian official told Haaretz that “the Palestinian Authority is interested in carrying out marches of rage and protest, but there’s no intention to break the rules or lead to a frontal confrontation with Israel like the one that took place during the Second Intifada.”
In response to the threats, the US State Department issued a travel warning to government employees in Israel restricting them from entering Judea and Samaria, East Jerusalem, Bethlehem and Jericho.
Zell understood the Palestinian reaction as an expression of a direct threat to the US.
“Abbas clearly threatened the president, which has been the Arabs’ strategy all along,” Zell said. “Sometimes they do make good on their threats. This intimidates people from taking a stand, but this time, they don’t know who they are dealing with now.
“This is a president who has been threatened by other, more dangerous despots, like Kim Jong Un, with much more steel behind their threats. Unlike others before him, this president is totally unmoved by these threats.”
The announcement comes in the wake of President Trump missing the Monday deadline for signing a waiver that prevents moving the embassy. While authorizing the move, the Jerusalem Embassy Act, passed in Congress in 1995, allowed for a presidential waiver, to be renewed every six months. Since the law was passed, every president has signed the veto preventing the move. Trump signed the waiver in June.
Though the administration plans to move the embassy soon, Trump will sign the current waiver in the coming days, according to reports. If he left it unsigned and the State Department did not immediately enact the law by establishing an embassy in Jerusalem, it would lose 50 percent of its budget for “Acquisition and Maintenance of Buildings Abroad” until it complies, though this is unlikely to happen.
Until 1973, 16 countries had their embassies in Jerusalem. Currently, the only embassy to Israel in Jerusalem is the International Christian Embassy Jerusalem (ICEJ). There are currently at least six embassies to Palestine in Jerusalem, including the Vatican Embassy.