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Washington Wrap: Waiver or Not

Omri Nahmias

Riding a wave of Democratic victories, Nancy Pelosi sees a new day dawning

Wednesday, November 15, 2017

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D ecember 1 is looming — six months since President Trump last signed a waiver to postpone the relocation of the American embassy from Tel Aviv to Jerusalem. The US president will soon have to decide whether to keep his campaign promise or to delay the move yet again.

Congress passed a law in 1995 mandating the move, but since then, succeeding presidents have consistently delayed the move every six months. In light of the upcoming deadline, and Trump’s statement last month that he wants to “give peace a shot” before making good on his campaign promise, the House Oversight Subcommittee for National Security spent two hours debating the question.

“We should have our embassy in Israel’s capital city of Jerusalem,” subcommittee chairman Representative Ron DeSantis (R-Fla) said to Mishpacha. “The president has committed to do that and I think he will honor his commitment. I think the takeaway from this is: better to do it sooner rather than later.”

When asked why he thinks the president shouldn’t sign the waiver come December 1, DeSantis said, “I think that moving the embassy will help to clarify things. It will help to get rid of this delusion that somehow Israel is not going to have stewardship over Jerusalem.”

The majority of House representatives expressed support for the move, as did most of the witnesses invited to testify before the subcommittee. Congressman Jim Jordan (R-Ohio) elicited laughter with his observation that “we have embassies in 188 countries. In all of them, the embassy is in the capital city, except one. In 1995 we passed an act that almost every Congress member voted for. For this act to take effect, Congress doesn’t have to do anything — something that Congress is actually pretty good at.”

He added: “So we don’t have to do anything, the president doesn’t have to do anything. The president campaigned on this, the American people elected him, and it was a central issue on his campaign. We do it everywhere else except one country, and this is one of our closest allies in the world. This is real simple to me. This is about remembering your friends. This is about loyalty.”

That said, and despite the enthusiastic support among subcommittee members in favor of the move, it seems unlikely that Trump will change his position in the next couple weeks.

“I don’t know if I’m optimistic. A lot of people have tried, and frankly, I don’t believe that Abbas has the ability to deliver, even if he made an agreement.” –House Minority Whip Steny Hoyer, when asked for his opinion about President Trump’s efforts to promote peace between Israel and the PA. 

(Excerpted from Mishpacha, Issue 685)

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