Former diplomat claims moving U.S. embassy to Jerusalem would boost ISIS.
A former U.S. ambassador to Israel suggested Monday on CNN that he knows better than the Israelis what is in their best interests.
Edward Walker, who served under President Bill Clinton in the 1990s and also did a stint as ambassador to Egypt, acknowledged on “CNN Newsroom” that he tried to move the U.S. embassy to Jerusalem when he was there. But now is different, he said.
“Now it is a question of inflaming the Arab world, ruining Israel’s relations with the burgeoning race relations with the Arab world and doing exactly the opposite that we want to do with ISIS, which is to eliminate them.”
“There was no fundamental reason at the time why we shouldn’t have moved it,” he said. “Now there is. Now it is a question of inflaming the Arab world, ruining Israel’s burgeoning race relations with the Arab world and doing exactly the opposite that we want to do with ISIS, which is to eliminate them.”
But Israeli officials, themselves, have welcomed the move.
“I congratulate President Trump and the historic message being sent by the White House by beginning hearings to move the U.S. Embassy to Jerusalem,” Jerusalem Mayor Nir Barkat said in a statement Monday to the Jerusalem Post.
Barkat called Trump a “true friend of the State of Israel, and keeps his promises.”
The Post also reported that the office of Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu characterized a conversation between him and Trump as “very warm” and that the two leaders agreed “there will be no daylight between the United States and Israel.”
Congress in 1995 mandated that the embassy be moved from Tel Aviv to Jerusalem by 1999. But presidents since then have signed waivers extending the deadline, citing national security concerns.
Walker, who now teaches global political theory at Hamilton College in New York, insisted that moving the embassy would prompt Muslims to join the Islamic State.
“Well, it’s gonna cause a lot of upset people,” he said. “And it’s going to be a recruiting poster for ISIS, which is the primary reason why it’s a bad idea.”
By all reports, the Trump administration is moving cautiously on the issue. U.S. and Israeli officials agreed that a relocation would not occur in the first days or weeks of the new administration.
“We’re at the very early stages of that decision-making process,” White Hose press secretary Sean Spicer said Monday at a news conference.