The U.S. president may make the travel and tourism world a more dangerous place on Wednesday when he indicated, he would open the door to move the American Embassy from Tel Aviv to Jerusalem, affirming the U.S. recognition of Tel Aviv as the Israeli capital.
A Monday deadline came and passed for U.S. President Donald Trump to sign a waiver to postpone for another six months the relocation of the American Embassy in Tel Aviv to Jerusalem.
A 1995 U.S. law stipulates that the mission be moved to what Israel considers its capital city unless the president deems doing so a threat to national security. According to reports, Trump is still expected to sign the waiver, begrudgingly, although rumors abound about the possibility that he may “split the difference” by formally recognizing Jerusalem as Israel’s capital.
It comes amid a major diplomatic offensive by Arab and European countries, which have uniformly warned that any change to Jerusalem’s status could ignite violence throughout the Middle East. At least two classified cables have been sent to American embassies and consulates in the region warning of the potential danger and advising they ramp up security.
The Palestinian Authority has threatened to torpedo the peace process in any such eventuality, just as the White House is devising a plan to jump-start negotiations. The Palestinians seek to establish an independent state in the West Bank and Gaza Strip with east Jerusalem as its capital.
Worldwide protests would be expected and experts say it would be less safe for American tourists to travel overseas.
By contrast, Israeli officials, including Jerusalem Mayor Nir Barkat and Defense Minister Avigdor Liberman have publicly lobbied the U.S. administration to go ahead with the move, with the latter affirming that the Jewish state “know[s] how to deal with all the ramifications” of any American policy shift. Trump is expected to announce his decision in a speech tentatively scheduled for Wednesday.
The Medialine.org contributed to this article.