Netanyahu exposed transcriptions of discussions between Israeli and American officials to prove Israel has consistently supported the move of the US embassy from Tel Aviv to Jerusalem.
In a rare occurrence, Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu exposed sections of transcriptions of discussions between high-ranking Israeli and American officials to prove Israel has consistently supported the move of the US embassy from Tel Aviv to Jerusalem, the Jewish state’s capital.
Netanyahu’s office published the transcriptions on Monday following a tweet by Fox News correspondent Conor Powell which claimed that “Everyone I’ve spoken to in DC that has been briefed on Jerusalem embassy move says Netanyahu told Trump not to move the embassy at this time.”
The Prime Minister’s Office released a statement flatly denying the report and saying that “the claims posted by a Fox News correspondent are false.”
To support the statement, the PMO released quotes from summaries of Netanyahu’s meetings with President Donald Trump on February 17, recorded by Israel’s acting national security adviser, Jacob Nagel.
In a meeting in the Oval Office, Nagel wrote: “5. The embassy – the PM supports moving it.”
During the lunch meeting at the White House, “the PM was asked about the embassy and explained [that moving it] would not lead to bloodshed in the region, as some were trying to intimidate [President Trump] into believing.”
In a summary of an earlier meeting between Israeli Ambassador Ron Dermer and National Security Advisor-designate Michael Flynn on January 16, “[Dermer] explained why moving the embassy would help advance peace and not the opposite.”
“This would send the message that we are in Jerusalem to stay. Moving the embassy would force the other side to contend with the lie they’ve constructed – that Israel has no connection to Jerusalem – and will cause them to understand that Israel will be here forever with Jerusalem as its capital,” Nagel wrote.
“This is the clear and consistent position of Prime Minister Netanyahu, which he reiterated today,” Netanyahu’s office stated.
There were previous reports that Trump intended to announce the embassy move, but was prevented from doing so by Israel.
Embassy Move Will Promote Peace
Netanyahu stated Sunday that moving the US embassy to Jerusalem would advance peace between Israel and the Palestinians, rather than harm the process.
He was responding to remarks made by US Secretary of State Rex Tillerson that Trump is considering the impact such a move could have on a peace process between Israel and the Palestinians.
Netanyahu’s office responded by stating that “Israel’s position has been stated many times to the American administration and to the world: Moving the American embassy to Jerusalem would not harm the peace process.”
“On the contrary, it would advance it by correcting an historical injustice and by shattering the Palestinian fantasy that Jerusalem is not the capital of Israel.”
While Trump repeatedly stated his support for the move of the US embassy to Jerusalem on the campaign trail and after his election, as time passes Israel is losing faith that such a move will actually happen.
All US presidents since 1995 have availed themselves of a provision in the law allowing the president to delay the move by signing a waiver affirming that in his judgment the move would harm America’s national security interests. The waiver must be signed every six months, and was last signed by Barack Obama in October. Trump’s visit would be shortly before he is due to sign it at the beginning of June.
While a recent news report surfaced that Trump has decided not to move the embassy to Jerusalem, the White House and the Prime Minister’s Office have both denied the report, and Jerusalem is waiting anxiously for a final decision on the issue.
By: Max Gelber, United with Israel
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