U.S. meddling in Israeli politics continues

By Joseph Farah

It looks like Jared Kushner has persuaded his father-in-law to continue the pattern of U.S. meddling in Israeli governance – even in housing policy in the Jewish state’s capital.

Israel doesn’t have many sympathetic friends among the nations of the world, but that seemed like it would change when Donald Trump won the 2016 election, pledging, as it were, to recognize Jerusalem as the capital of the nation by moving the U.S. Embassy there.

Trump took a pass on his first opportunity to make that symbolic gesture – something the Congress of the United States long ago approved.

On the eve of my departure to Israel where I am leading an annual tour, I was dismayed to see the Trump administration is following the pattern set by the Washington establishment presidencies dating back to Bush 1, Clinton, Bush 2 and Obama.

The Jerusalem Post quotes an unnamed senior U.S. administration official as saying: “It’s fair to say that the U.S. is discouraging actions that it believes will unduly distract the principals from focusing on the advancement of peace negotiations. The Jerusalem expansion bill was considered by the administration to be one of those actions.‎”

Earlier over the weekend, Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu delayed an initial vote planned for Monday on a measure that would have incorporated 19 Israeli developments surrounding Jerusalem.

Of course, this won’t make meaningful “peace negotiations” more successful. In fact, the action by the U.S. practically guarantees a harder line by the Palestinian Authority.

To put this in perspective, try to imagine the U.S. caring about housing policy in any other nation’s capital city. It’s impossible to imagine. Israel has a burgeoning population. Jerusalem is the nation’s largest city. Jews want to live there – not just because it’s the nation’s capital, but because it’s the holiest city. It’s the one about which Jews, for the last 1,800 years, have been praying, “Next year in Jerusalem.”

If you want to understand the God’s coming Kingdom on earth, get Joseph Farah’s “The Restitution of All Things: Israel, Christians and the End of the Age.”

Because of the housing demand, Israel has been building housing developments around the city. Most people who live in those developments consider themselves residents of Jerusalem already. The Knesset was prepared to make it official, doing what other countries the world over do in such situations – simply incorporate these communities into the nation’s capital.

It wasn’t Israel’s enemies who delayed that sensible solution. It was Israel’s closest friend.

I hope and pray I’m wrong about this, but, from past experience, such interference by the U.S. in Israeli policies usually spells trouble for America. I know it sounds crazy to some. But it’s true. With the natural and unnatural disasters the U.S. has experienced this year – from hurricanes to devastating wildfires to the largest mass shooting attack in America’s history – this action by Washington is not a good idea, not for Israel and not for the U.S.

There are consequences for messing with Israel – heavenly consequences.

But, as an American, I find it discouraging that policy toward Israel is so hard to change. We can’t seem to do it through the presidential electoral process.

After all, this is what we would have expected Hillary Clinton to do had she been elected. It’s what we would have expected from the Washington establishment. But Trump was elected with a promise to move the U.S. Embassy to Jerusalem. I personally believe it’s more important that more Jews get to live in Israel’s capital than it is to have a U.S. Embassy there.

Don’t get me wrong – Trump has done a magnificent job in his first year in office on so many fronts. But it looks like the Washington establishment won this round.

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