Donald Trump, on Friday morning, tweeted a video showing a handful of past presidents making statements that seemed to indicate their belief that the capital of Israel is – or should be – Jerusalem.
As The Hill reported, Trump’s tweet shows a video cut of past presidents – Bill Clinton, George W. Bush, and Barack Obama – all seemingly indicating their support for Jerusalem as Israel’s capital. Clinton, for example, said in 1992, “Jerusalem is still the capital of Israel and must remain an undivided city accessible to all.” Bush, similarly, promised in a 2000 campaign speech: “As soon as I take office I will begin the process of moving the United States ambassador to the city Israel has chosen as its capital.” And Obama, in 2008, said, “I continue to say that Jerusalem will be the capital of Israel, and I have said that before and I will say it again.”
The video then goes on to show Trump making his own statements on the controversial topic.
Trump then captioned the video with a boast:
“I fulfilled my campaign promise – others didn’t!”
Trump is right: none of those other men ever followed through on their promise to move the U.S. embassy from Tel Aviv to Jerusalem.
I fulfilled my campaign promise – others didn’t! pic.twitter.com/bYdaOHmPVJ
— Donald J. Trump (@realDonaldTrump) December 8, 2017
In fact, as The Hill writer Max Greenwood notes, none of those former presidents ever made formal policy declarations about Jerusalem’s status as Israel’s capital once in office. And in fact, the men did the opposite of what they promised in their campaigns, instead signing waivers keeping the office of the U.S. Ambassador to Israel in Tel Aviv.
In fact, Trump himself has also signed a waiver keeping the ambassador in Tel Aviv, even as his promises to move the capital to Jerusalem draw heated reactions in the Middle East.
Moreso, the process of moving the ambassador to Jerusalem will likely take years.
As for why the U.S. ambassador’s office is in the coastal city of Tel Aviv rather than Jerusalem in the first place: as The New York Times reported back in 1997, the U.S. has, over the past 70 years, consistently refused to recognize Jerusalem as Israel’s capital, owing to the intense controversy surrounding the ancient city’s divided status between Israelis and Palestinians. Placing the embassy in the nearby coastal city of Tel Aviv enabled the U.S. to dodge the political fallout that would have occurred.
However, in 1995, during the Clinton administration, The Jerusalem Embassy Act required the U.S. to move its embassy from Tel Aviv to Jerusalem by 1999. However, Clinton, and every president since then, has signed waivers every six months delaying the move.