What Does Trump's Decision on the Embassy Mean? Ellen Wexler interviews The Wilson Center's Aaron David Miller, Middle East analyst, author and negotiator.


Trump's decision broke from decades of U.S. foreign policy. Why does this matter? The U.S. Embassy belongs in West Jerusalem. Israel is one of the few countries in the world in which the United States has an embassy in a city that is not the host country's designated capital. This has created confusion, a lack of clarity and a fiction in U.S. policy.

My deep concern is that American policy needs to go well beyond addressing the needs of a single party or constituency. Any major shift in American policy needs to primarily serve American policy goals. Declaring Jerusalem Israel's capital--and, let's be clear, there was no urgent or imperative need to do so--undermines U.S. credibility and competency, angers and alienates other U.S. partners and undermines the notion that America can be an effective broker in what is now admittedly a comatose peace process. The decision was made largely for domestic political reasons, to fulfill a campaign commitment, to please important domestic constituencies.

What will Trump's decision mean for the peace process? The peace process was comatose, if not dead, well before the president's decision on Jerusalem. Still, if you were looking for a way to ensure it never sees the light of day, there's no better way than to push the Jerusalem issue to the forefront. Trump has made it even more impossible for...

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