Jerusalem, after being snubbed by the international community for decades, may soon may have an “embassy row.”
Since President Donald Trump announced he will allow a 1995 law finally to effect, recognizing Jerusalem as Israel’s capital, other nations are following his lead.
Over the weekend, Guatemalan President Jimmy Morales revealed on his official Facebook account his country will move its embassy in Israel to Jerusalem.
Morales said he instructed his country’s foreign ministry to “initiate the process to make it possible.”
His decision comes on the heels of a vote in the United Nations in which Guatemala and handful of other small nations opposed the 128-country majority that condemned Trump’s decision.
The vote prompted warnings from U.S. Ambassador Nikki Haley that the U.S. was “taking names.” The U.S. said Monday it already has decided to cut funding for the international group by $285 million.
The U.S. is the largest contributor to the U.N., writing checks for about 22 percent of the global body’s budget each year.
The Hill reported the Czech Republic said it will recognize West Jerusalem as the capital of Israel.
“The Czech Republic together with other EU member states, following the EU Foreign Affairs Council Conclusions, considers Jerusalem to be future capital of both states, meaning the state of Israel and the future state of Palestine,” the Czech Foreign Ministry explained in a statement.
The government statement made clear it only was recognizing the western part of Jerusalem as Israel’s capital, the part that Israel held before seizing control of the rest in the Six-Day War of 1967, when multiple Muslim neighbors attacked. But the Czech Republic, nevertheless, broke with other European Union members who do not recognize Jerusalem at all.
Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan has tried to generate international condemnation for Trump’s decision.
He even called a summit of Islamic radicals after Trump’s announcement was released.
Israel’s Ynet News reports Honduras and Paraguay are “expected to join” the move to place embassies in Jerusalem.
And the Times of Israel reported Israel Deputy Foreign Minister Tzipi Hotovely says at least 10 nation are discussing the idea.
“In an interview with Israel Radio, she declined to say which states Israel was speaking with, but Channel 10 reported that the next country likely to announce an embassy move was Honduras,” the report said.
Honduran President Juan Orlando Hernandez was elected to another term just a few weeks ago and has links to Israel.
“Knesset Speaker Yuli Edelstein announced at a Likud party event Monday that the parliamentary heads of two other countries had spoken to him about moving their embassies from Tel Aviv. The Walla news site reported that representatives from Romania and Slovakia had expressed support for such a move and were working in their respective countries to effect it,” the Times of Israel said.
Also, Togo is considering recognizing Jerusalem and Russia recognized West Jerusalem in April.
NPR reported Morales’ announcement made Guatemala the first country to formally and without conditions follow Trump’s lead.
When Trump make his announcement, WND commentator Michael Brown cited seven reasons listed by pundit Ben Shapiro that Trump’s decision to move the U.S. embassy to Jerusalem is right, calling it “an act of not only political bravery but moral courage.”
Brown speculated whether there was spiritual significance to the decision.
He explained: “In reality, Trump is not declaring war in the Middle East, not declaring war against 1.5 billion Muslims and in no way, shape, size or form declaring war on hundreds of millions of Christians. In fact, the very notion that Christians will not accept ‘the holy shrines’ being ‘totally under the hegemony of Israel”‘is absolute nonsense.
He pointed out that America’s recognition of Jerusalem as Israel’s capital “changes nothing on the ground at all, especially when it comes to the Christian holy sites, which have been under Israeli hegemony for decades.”
“Second, it is under Jewish hegemony that Middle Eastern Christians have access to these holy sites and freedom to practice their faith. The restrictions generally come under Islamic, not Israeli rule.”
He noted that “every other nation on the planet chooses its capital city, and the other nations recognize that city and put their embassies there.”
“Why won’t the rest of the world recognize Jerusalem as Israel’s capital? Why are the embassies located in Tel Aviv rather than Jerusalem?
“Jerusalem is the historic capital of the Jewish people, going back to roughly 1000 B.C. Jews face Jerusalem when they pray, and synagogues in the West face east, while every year at Passover, the hopeful prayer is recited, ‘Next year in Jerusalem!’ And in terms of functional reality, Jerusalem is the capital of the nation. There’s nothing to discuss or debate. That’s reality, plain and simple.
WND reported only nine countries, including the United States and Israel, voted against the resolution condemning the U.S. while 35 nations abstained and 21 were absent.
The vote tally:
President Trump warned ahead of the vote that the U.N. and nations that supported the resolution should expect consequences. At total of 128 voted in favor of it.
“They take hundreds of millions of dollars and even billions of dollars, and then they vote against us. Well, we’re watching those votes. Let them vote against us. We’ll save a lot. We don’t care,” he said Wednesday. “This isn’t like it used to be where they could vote against you and then you pay them hundreds of millions of dollars and nobody knows what they’re doing.
“People are tired of the United States – people that live here that are great citizens that love this country – they’re tired of this country being taken advantage of. And we’re not going to be taken advantage of any longer.”
The president said he was recognizing Jerusalem as Israel’s capital and that the U.S. will move its embassy from Tel Aviv to Jerusalem, though the timing is uncertain.
He explained the decision was “nothing more or less than a recognition of reality” and that the move should not be interpreted as a departure from the U.S. stance of working toward a peaceful “two-state solution” to the age-old Arab-Israeli conflict.
Famed legal mind Alan Dershowitz wrote at the Gatestone Institute site that it simply is “beyond the jurisdiction of the U.N. to tell a sovereign nation what it can and cannot recognize.”
He pointed out that the entire brouhaha was brought on by former President Obama’s personal animus against Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu.
“The resolution fails to recognize that it was the December 2016 Security Council Resolution – the one engineered by lame duck President Barack Obama – that changed the status of Jerusalem and complicated the efforts to achieve a compromise peace. Before that benighted resolution, Jerusalem’s Western Wall, the Jewish Quarter and the access roads to Hebrew University and Hadassah Hospital were widely recognized as part of Israel – or at worst, as disputed territory.
“Everyone knew that any peace agreement would inevitably recognize that these historically Jewish areas as an indigenous part of Israel. They were certainly not illegally occupied by Israel, any more than Bethlehem was illegally occupied by the Palestinian Authority (PA). Both Jerusalem and Bethlehem had originally been deemed part of an international zone by the United Nations when it divided the British mandate into two states for two people – a decision accepted by Israel and rejected by all the Arab nations and the Palestinian Arabs in the area. Jordan then attacked Israel and illegally occupied the Western Wall and Jewish Quarter in Jerusalem.”
Israel was attacked in 1967 and took back Jerusalem.
“Until Obama engineered the notorious December 2016 Security Council Resolution that declared the Western Wall, the Jewish Quarter and the access roads to be illegally occupied by Israel, thus changing the status quo. This unwarranted change – long opposed by United States administrations – made a negotiated peace more difficult, because it handed the Jewish holy places over to the Palestinians without getting any concessions in return, thus requiring that Israel ‘buy’ them back in any negotiation,” Dershowitz wrote.
He asked: “Why did Obama change the status quo to the disadvantage of Israel? Congress did not want the change. The American people did not support the change. Many in the Obama administration opposed it. Even some members of the Security Council who voted for the resolution did not want the change. Obama did it as lame duck revenge against Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu, whom he hated. His motive was personal, not patriotic. His decision was bad for America, for peace and for America’s ally, Israel. He never would have done it except as a lame duck with no political accountability and no checks and balances.”
The start of Trump’s response didn’t take long, with Haley’s weekend confirmation the U.S. was cutting $285 million from the U.N.
“The inefficiency and overspending of the United Nations are well known,” Haley said. “We will no longer let the generosity of the American people be taken advantage of or remain unchecked.”
She also said it’s a first step in the right direction.