President Trump: The Jerusalem decision
Prior to the election of President Donald J. Trump, almost every U.S. President since the founding of Israel in 1948 promised the U.S. Embassy would be moved to the Israeli capital, Jerusalem. But not one of those Presidents carried out their promise.
So, why were President Trump and Secretary of State Pompeo able to move our embassy from Tel Aviv to Jerusalem? And who was resisting what needed to be done?
First of all, human nature. Often, Foreign Service Officers and their families are sent to serve in disgustingly backward armpit countries. They deserve our thanks. But not all foreign posts are undesirable.
For example, on the sunny, south shore of the Mediterranean Sea, Tel Aviv is replete with Paris-like shopping, wonderful theater and arts facilities, great schools and hospitals. The upscale suburb of Herzliya Pituah is home to many diplomats and military attachés, albeit the beach is sometimes plagued with oil from off-shore drilling rigs. By contrast, the crowded, sometimes chilly, and rainy ancient city of Jerusalem up in the craggy Judean Hills and is far from the delights of the seashore.
Nevertheless, Jerusalem is home to the Knesset (parliament), the Office of the Prime Minister, and is the seat of government. That is where our embassy was supposed to be.
Some naysayers said to move the U.S. Embassy from Tel Aviv to Jerusalem would set off yet another war in the Middle East and the U.S. would lose access to badly needed oil. Prior to the Trump Administration, those objections actually had some merit.
But all that changed when President Trump took steps to boost the American oil and gas industry (think fracking and Keystone Pipeline) to the point that the United States became, for the first time, independent of oil and gas from the Middle East.
After the U.S. achieved energy independence, all it took was an American President who honored his pledges to the American voter and to the Israeli government and a Secretary of State who told his employees to pack their bags.
There was also the nascent nuclear threat from Iran to consider. Coastal Tel Aviv is largely secular, even has a topless beach. The Mullahs could more easily justify frying a bunch of Jews in Tel Aviv and, thereby, lay claim to Shia leadership of the Muslim world. But would the Mullahs nuke Jerusalem, the site of the Dome of the Rock from which Mohammad (may peace be upon him) ascended into Muslim Paradise? Not likely. Also, nuking our embassy would be Act of War.
So, in the end, President Trump and Secretary did another one of the things President Trump was elected to do. Did war break out? No. Israels Arab neighbors remained quiet.
Even the objections about the cost of a "new" embassy proved to be inconsequential. President Trump, the former hotel and real estate mogul, looked at the over-elaborate and expensive plans for a brand-new embassy took out his bold pen and remodeled the existing consulate building to suit, saving the U.S. taxpayer millions of dollars.
As the Biden* Administration makes us dependent on foreign oil again and helps the Mullahs obtain nuclear weapons, those who voted against President Trump may well experience "buyers remorse."
Suggested reading: The Disciple by Stephen Coonts (2009).
©2021. William Hamilton