The Zionist Organization of America (ZOA) has expressed disappointment in and disagreement with President Donald Trump’s decision to not move, for now, the U.S. embassy in Tel Aviv to Israel’s capital city, Jerusalem, in accordance with the U.S.’s normal practice in every other county to maintain an embassy in a nation’s capital city. But, ZOA praises President Trump for making clear that establishing peace with the Palestinian regime may prove impossible.
On Saturday, President Trump said he would not go ahead with his pledge to move the American embassy to Jerusalem until after pushing for an Israeli-Palestinian peace deal, saying: “I wanna give that a shot before I even think about moving the embassy to Jerusalem … We’re gonna make a decision in the not too distant future” (‘’Mike Huckabee Interview with President Trump‘ Trinity Broadcasting Network, October 7, 2017).
ZOA National President Morton Klein said, “We are deeply disappointed in and disagree with President Trump’s decision to put off transferring the U.S. embassy in Israel to the historic, biblical and current capital of Israel, Jerusalem. But, President Trump deserves praise for recognizing that peace with this Palestinian regime may be a pipe-dream and nigh impossible.
“President Trump rightly promised when running for office that he would move the U.S. embassy from Tel Aviv to Jerusalem in accordance with U.S. law. (The Jerusalem Embassy Act of 1995, passed by overwhelming majorities of 93 to 5 in the Senate, and 374 to 37 in the House.)
“Jerusalem is and has been the eternal capital of the Jewish people for over 3,000 years, and is the united capital of the modern Jewish State of Israel.
“While the ZOA understands that President Trump has not yet made a final decision on the embassy move, the deferral of a decision to move the embassy in accordance with his pre-election pledges –– pledges which were repeated by his spokesmen Jason Greenblatt and current Ambassador to Israel David Friedman just before the election and also by spokesman Kellyanne Conway after his election –– sends a message of weakness, and a message that the U.S. fears Palestinian violent reaction.
“Policy should never be determined by terrorist threats, otherwise the world will have more terrorism and more threats. This also harms the effort to destroy radical Islamic terrorism and the Islamic State (IS).
“President Trump had it right when he addressed AIPAC in 2016 when he stated that standing with Israel would increase the prospects for peace, and affirmed that he would move the embassy, saying, ‘When I become president, the days of treating Israel like a second-class citizen will end on day one. Thank you. And when I say something, I mean it, I mean it. . . . [W]hen the United States stands with Israel, the chances of peace really rise and rises exponentially. That’s what will happen when Donald Trump is president of the United States. We will move the American embassy to the eternal capital of the Jewish people, Jerusalem.’
“After these firm promises to the pro-Israel community and the American people, not moving the embassy risks damaging the President’s credibility.
“Failing to move the U.S. embassy also propagates another Arab propaganda myth –– that peace would result if Israel agrees to divide Jerusalem. The Arabs refuse to make peace because their goal is to ultimately destroy the Jewish State and murder Jews. Palestinians pay Arabs to murder Jews, promoting hatred and violence against Jews in their media, schools, speeches and Mosques, naming streets, schools and sports teams after Jew killers. Every Palestinian map shows all of Israel as Palestine. As long as this continues there should be no negotiations because Israel cannot make a single concession while the PA continues as a radical, anti-Semitic, terrorist regime.
“The ZOA also notes that Jerusalem has never been the capital of any country except Israel. The ZOA observes that Jerusalem has never been a ‘Palestinian Arab’ capital.
“Lastly, failure to move the embassy helps to perpetuate the myth that Jerusalem is a holy city to Islam. While important Muslim sanctuaries are located in Jerusalem, the city has never been a holy city (as a whole) to Islam.
“Jerusalem is the Jewish people’s holiest city and the site of the first and second Jewish Temples – the holiest location in Judaism. Jerusalem is mentioned almost 700 times in the Hebrew Bible, but is not mentioned even once in the Quran.
“During the 19 years when Jordan illegally occupied the eastern portion of Jerusalem (1948-1967), Jordan demolished 58 ancient Jewish synagogues and permitted the city to decay; Jordan did not transfer its capital from Amman to Jerusalem.
“No Arab ruler other than Jordanian monarchs even visited Jerusalem and its Muslim sanctuaries when its eastern half was securely in Arab hands. As Israel elder statesman Abba Eban quipped, ‘the secular delights of Beirut held more attraction.’
“When Jordan illegally occupied eastern Jerusalem, there was neither peace. And when former Israeli Prime Ministers Ehud Olmert and Ehud Barak offered to give away parts of Jerusalem, the Palestinian Arabs rejected those generous offers.
“The actual reason that Palestinian leaders will not conclude an agreement with Israel is that it would not entail Israel’s eventual dismantling, G-d forbid. Thus Palestinian Arabs insist on not concluding an end-of-claims agreement, and instead prefer to internationalize the conflict.
“The ZOA sincerely hopes that President Trump will reconsider, and that he will move the U.S. Embassy to Israel and the Jewish people’s eternal capital of Jerusalem as soon as possible.”