that the move won’t happen if it is deemed to be a detriment to the peace process between Israel and the Palestinians.
While it is true that moving the embassy to Jerusalem could disrupt the region’s fragile peace, the same is true of many other actions. Sudden outbreaks of fighting could also be caused by a missile attack by Hamas, a kidnapping by Hezbollah, a crazed gunman or even an auto accident. Moving the embassy might bring war, but not moving the embassy won’t bring peace.
Tillerson’s statement doesn’t sit well with one of the GOP’s biggest donors. Las Vegas billionaire Sheldon Adelson, who along with his wife contributed $80 million to Republicans in 2016, isn’t happy with what he heard – in fact, word is that he’s “furious” at what he sees as an about-face from the administration.
The sources say the Las Vegas billionaire doesn’t buy the argument that the embassy move should be contingent on the peace process. He has told Trump that Palestinians are impossible negotiating partners and make demands that Israel can never meet.
It’s clear that the Trump administration – or at least Tillerson – is utterly tone deaf to Israel policy. The Palestinians aren’t going to be happy with anything the United States does that puts Israel first, so why even worry? If all our decisions take the peace process under consideration, we may as well do nothing.
And it’s pretty obvious that Trump shouldn’t want to make enemies of Sheldon Adelson either. The GOP can’t afford for Adelson to close up his deep pockets or take his money elsewhere. He’s probably not the only donor who is angry at the administration’s bait and switch on the embassy.
Many conservatives – including those who, like me, didn’t put a whole lot of faith in Donald Trump – thought that his promise to renew our friendship with Israel was refreshing. After eight years of treating Israel like an annoyance, the idea of viewing Israel as a cherished ally again served as an encouragement. Sure, moving the embassy was just a symbolic gesture, but it seemed significant.
A promise is a promise, and the president told us before the inauguration that he doesn’t break his promises. Here’s hoping that trusting a frustrating peace process won’t lead him to change his mind on Israel.