The chaos and confusion preceding President Trump’s visit to Israel should not come as a surprise. After all, we may be about to see the most significant political development in Jerusalem for 50 years
The world is watching as President Trump prepares to visit Israel during his first overseas trip since taking office. The stage is set to declare a possible relocation of the US embassy from Tel Aviv to Jerusalem. Even if the move isn’t announced during Trump’s visit next week, a decision whether to keep the embassy in Tel Aviv must be made by the end of May in accordance with a six-monthly declaration that must be signed just as presidents have done before him.
However, unlike the previous administration, the new administration is strongly in support of Israel. President Trump has made it clear that he stands with Israel echoed by Vice President Pence, whose love for Israel has been expressed on many occasion. Trump’s appointment of Nikki Haley as US representative at the UN has already made an impact in challenging the anti-Israel bias, demonstrating that Israel can rely upon America as a faithful advocate once again.
The new US Ambassador to Israel, David Friedman, who previously said he looks forward to serving at Israel’s capital Jerusalem, officially took office this week.
It would seem that America has cemented its accepted position as Israel’s greatest ally, but as the two countries prepare for what will be an historic meeting, the relationship between Israel and the US is under attack.
Let’s look at the past few days:
In planning for the upcoming visit, the president expressed an interest in visiting the Western Wall. But when Prime Minister Netanyahu’s office requested that Benjamin Netanyahu join President Trump at the Wall, the American delegation refused. A top U.S. embassy official reportedly told Israelis, “This isn’t your territory. . . It is a private visit by the president, and it’s not your business.” According to Israeli media, the discussion “deteriorated into an angry shouting match.”
Further complicating matters, the dispute erupted on the very day that Ambassador David Friedman arrived in Israel. He immediately went to pray at the Western Wall.
The US diplomatic officials involved in this dispute have been identified as David Berns, the political adviser at the U.S. Consulate in Jerusalem, and Jonathan Shrier, the consulate’s economic adviser. Berns and Shrier received their appointments to the Jerusalem consulate in August 2015 — during the Obama Administration.
Thankfully, the Trump Administration quickly rejected their absurd claims that the Western Wall was not part of Israeli territory. In a statement to the Times of Israel, the White House said, “The comments about the Western Wall were not authorised communication and they do not represent the position of the United States and certainly not of the president.”
Ambassador Nikki Hayley spoke publicly saying, “I believe the Western Wall is part of Israel and I think that that is how we’ve always seen it and that’s how we should pursue it… We’ve always thought the Western Wall was part of Israel.”
During the same week, Israel and US relations have been tested, or at least that is what some of the media wants to portray, amid allegations that the US passed Israeli intelligence to Russia.
All this comes as Israel marks the 50th Anniversary of the Six Day War and reunification of Jerusalem.
The chaos and confusion preceding President Trump’s visit to Israel should not come as a surprise. After all, we may be about to see the greatest shift in US policy in recent years and arguably the most significant political development in Jerusalem for 50 years. Jerusalem is the eternal, and undivided capital of Israel. America moving its embassy will declare this to the whole world…and Israel’s enemies are getting nervous.
Christians United for Israel UK