Israel Wednesday doubled down against the Trump administration, saying there is “no room” for an American Consulate in Jerusalem and insisting the city’s future could be decided only in the context of final status negotiations between the Israelis and Palestinians.
In a morning editorial, the Jerusalem Post said: “Despite the American Council on Foreign Relations [sic] assertion that plans to move the United States Embassy to Jerusalem threaten to ‘turn Israel into the Baghdad of the Middle East,’ there is no room in Jerusalem for an American Consulate. The talks between the two sides need a US presence there to advance an understanding of Israeli and Palestinian territory and the final status issues and to create a culture and economy conducive to a peace agreement,” the newspaper said.
“There will be no Middle East peace unless the Americans are a party to it and even that won’t be possible until the administration engages in meaningful, sustained discussion with the Palestinians in the hope of a two-state solution,” the newspaper continued.
In announcing earlier this month that the White House will move the American Embassy from Tel Aviv to Jerusalem, President Trump said he was “working closely with my staff, members of Congress and the State Department to determine the location of the new embassy.”
The day after, on April 17, Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu told reporters: “If the [White House] is certain about its intentions and says the proper place to be the U.S. Embassy to Israel will be in Jerusalem, it is perfectly correct,” adding he didn’t care where the embassy would be located.
The Post goes on to discuss the importance of Jerusalem as a city of “united Jerusalem for all,” with all sections and people living in its walls and streets; the importance of the Old City to the Jewish people; and the importance of an uninterrupted Palestinian connection to the city.
The Council on Foreign Relations said the American Embassy relocation will be “a key test of the trust that can be built if a U.S. peace initiative is any good and if Trump takes his own advice: To insist that Jerusalem is at the center of the future peace process and to insist that those ultimately settling disputes in Jerusalem are Palestinians.”