In about three weeks, Barack Obama will do something he has done 15 times before during his two terms as president of the United States, something some Israelis hope his successor, Donald J. Trump, will not do even once: He will sign a presidential waiver halting his legal obligation to move the US embassy from Tel Aviv to Jerusalem.
Citing the “authority vested in me as President by the Constitution and the laws of the United States,” Obama will determine once more “that it is necessary, in order to protect the national security interests of the United States,” to suspend Congress’s 1995 decision to recognize Jerusalem as Israel’s capital and transfer to it the embassy and the ambassador’s residence.
But Trump is a wildcard, and more than a week after he won the elections it still unclear what policies he will pursue in the Middle East — including whether he will adhere to widely accepted diplomatic dogma and join the list of presidents postponing the embassy’s move every six months, or actually make good on his campaign pledge and order the move.
The most often cited argument against recognizing Jerusalem as Israel’s capital and moving the embassy there is that this is a step that should be taken only after the successful conclusion of an Israeli-Palestinian peace deal. The status of Jerusalem is subject to bilateral negotiations, diplomats generally argue, and relocating the embassy as a gesture to Israel before a final-status agreement is signed would greatly anger Ramallah — sending an already moribund peace process to its certain death — and raise the ire of the larger Arab world and thus destabilize the entire region.
To be sure, the Manhattan real estate mogul-turned-politician declared unequivocally, in an address to AIPAC in March, that he intends to “move the American embassy to the eternal capital of the Jewish people, Jerusalem.” In a television interview that month he said he would do it “fairly quickly.”
Iran has been prodding Palestinian jihadists to resume hostilities against Israel, a Palestinian security official told Breitbart Jerusalem.
The official states that Iran, encouraged by Hamas’ success in restoring its infrastructure in the West Bank, charged Hezbollah with recruiting militants formerly associated with Fatah’s military wing, and has more recently turned to Islamic Jihad in hopes that the terror group would rebuild its own West Bank infrastructure, which was left in ruins at the end of the second intifada.
Last week, the Israeli media reported that members of an Islamic Jihad cell were arrested after they planned to carry out an attack on a wedding in the south of Israel and kidnap soldiers.
Among the detainees were an Islamic Jihad operative who was arrested upon attempting to enter Israel as an international businessman, two Palestinians who resided in Israel illegally, and an Arab Israeli man.
The Palestinian official said that the Islamic Jihad operative’s cover was blown when he insisted on entering Israel despite having lost contact with his collaborators, who had been arrested.