On December 7th, 2017, APN hosted former US consul General in Jerusalem, Jacob (Jake) Walles. Ambassador Walles spoke about the repercussions of President Trump’s recognition of Jerusalem as Israel’s capital and his decision to start preparations for transferring America’s Israel embassy from Tel Aviv to Jerusalem.  

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Join APN for a briefing call on Trump's recognition of Jerusalem as Israel's capital and its repercussions with Ambassador Jacob (Jake) Walles, Former US Consul General to Jerusalem.

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Trump's Jerusalem Move Sabotages Prospects for Peace, Endangers Lives, Degrades US Leadership

Donald Trump today sabotaged decades of American efforts to resolve the Israeli-Palestinian conflict. By announcing his disastrous new policy on Jerusalem, he is causing severe damage to the prospects of Middle East peace, imperiling lives, and degrading US leadership.

Defying the counsel of America's top diplomats and security experts, as well as the urging of US regional and international allies, Trump decided to put politics before policy, to cater to domestic extremists in his political base, and to toss a match into the most combustible place on earth: the holy city of Jerusalem. Trump's irresponsible action has further eroded American prestige and influence in the international arena.

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US Public Opinion on Embassy Move: Polling Graphic

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7 Things You Should Know: Trump’s Decision on Jerusalem

Americans for Peace Now strongly opposes any move by the Trump Administration to alter longstanding US policy on Jerusalem outside the context of a peace agreement between Israel and the Palestinians. Here is what you need to know:

  • 1. President Trump made a landmark announcement on Jerusalem on December 6th.

President Trump did two things in his speech: he reversed 70 years of American policy by recognizing Jerusalem as Israel’s capital and he announced plans to move the US embassy in Israel from Tel Aviv to Jerusalem.  

  • 2. Recognition of Jerusalem as Israel’s capital, without any acknowledgment of Palestinian claims to Jerusalem, is the root of the problem.

Jerusalem is Israel’s capital. But the timing of international, and particularly American, recognition of this matters – as do the particular borders of Jerusalem that are recognized. The reason is that Palestinians also have legitimate claims to Jerusalem as the capital of their eventual state and any realistic peace plan includes at least some portion of East Jerusalem as that capital.

Moving the US embassy to Jerusalem, in the absence of a peace agreement between Israel and the Palestinians, recognizes Israeli claims to Jerusalem while giving the Palestinians nothing. And timing matters. Trump’s impending announcement is occurring as Congress prepares to cut, through the Taylor Force Act, aid that would benefit the Palestinian Authority, and following Trump’s near-decision to close the PLO mission to Washington. (Since Trump's announcement, PA President Mahmoud Abbas recalled Palestinian diplomats in protest.) Adding to that, US recognition of Jerusalem as Israel’s capital and/or relocation of the US embassy creates a “triple whammy” against the Palestinians. It will severely damage American credibility as an honest broker of peace between Israelis and Palestinians, and in foreign policy more broadly. So much for President Trump’s avowed desire to make the “ultimate deal.”

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Jerusalem: Trump's Move

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Hard Questions, Tough Answers (12.4.17) - Fighting the last war, fighting the next war

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Yossi Alpher is an independent security analyst. He is the former director of the Jaffee Center for Strategic Studies at Tel Aviv University, a former senior official with the Mossad, and a former IDF intelligence officer. Views and positions expressed here are those of the writer, and do not necessarily represent APN's views and policy positions.

This week, Alpher discusses whether Trump will announce his decision to recognize Jerusalem as Israel's capital and whether this would spark the next intifada; the settlements issue as part of the Trump-Russia investigation; the 70th anniversary of the United Nations decision to partition Palestine and the Palestinians' and Arab countries' rejection of it in 1947; and whether the Netanyahu government should and could have intervened in Syria in 2012, toppled the Assad regime and installed the secular opposition in power.

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Facts matter: A reminder

Facts matter.

And they particularly matter when it comes to a respectable publication like Bloomberg.com and a reputable journalist such as Eli Lake.

In an article that discusses the Trump transition team’s apparent efforts to lobby foreign governments to veto a UN Security Council resolution critical of Israel from which the Obama administration abstained, Lake writes the following: “Even though the Obama administration had less than a month left in office, the president instructed his ambassador to the United Nations to abstain from a resolution, breaking a precedent that went back to 1980 when it came to one-sided anti-Israel resolutions at the UN.”

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APN to Trump: Don't Transfer Israel Embassy to Jerusalem

Alarmed by reports that the Trump Administration is considering immediate action to move the US Israel embassy from Tel Aviv to Jerusalem, Americans for Peace Now is calling on President Trump to eschew this dangerous action.

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From Peace Now's Settlement Watch:

The past few months have seen unprecedented developments in the settlements, causing severe damage to the chances of a two-state solution. Accelerated population growth, approvals of housing units in the West Bank and East Jerusalem, promotion of bypass roads, advancements of Knesset bills, home demolitions and changes in legal interpretations - all lead to a situation of de-facto annexation of area C. Without any official declarations, the Israeli government is preventing the viability and contiguity of a future Palestinian state, while treating lands in area C as its own. The implications of the abovementioned developments are far-reaching for Israel, the Palestinians and the region as a whole. 

Peace Now's new report summarizes key developments of the last several months and analyzes their impact, individually and together, on the viability of a Palestinian state alongside Israel and the possibility for a two state solution.

Even with the lack of a final status agreement in sight, it is our duty today to struggle in order to prevent silent annexation efforts and to assure the possibility of a two state solution on the ground.
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