President Trump is set to announce the United States officially recognizes Jerusalem as the capitol city of Israel from the White House Tuesday afternoon after fielding a barrage of criticism from the left and the international community. He has directed the State Department to start planning the U.S. Embassy move from Tel Aviv to Jerusalem, which will take at least three years.
Although Trump is the first U.S. President to follow through with his campaign promise to move the embassy, he isn't the first president to call for it or for Jerusalem's recognition as part of the Jewish State.
In recent decades, Presidents Bill Clinton, Barack Obama and George W. Bush all called for the embassy to be moved and for the Israeli capitol to be officially recognized. They all got bogged down in false promises of a peace agreement from the Palestinians.
Bill Clinton declared in February 1992, at the height of the Democratic primaries, that he supported recognizing Jerusalem as Israel’s capital, a step that would alter U.S. policy.
Later, during the general election campaign, Clinton attacked President George H.W. Bush for having “repeatedly challenged Israel’s sovereignty over a united Jerusalem.” He promised that he and running mate Al Gore would “support Jerusalem as the capital of the State of Israel.”
In the 2000 election campaign, George W. Bush clearly promised to move the embassy and attacked Clinton for failing to deliver on his promise. At one point he even said he would “start the process as soon as I’m sworn in.” Bush made that promise in front of leading Jewish organizations including AIPAC and the American Jewish Committee. But like Clinton before him, once Bush entered the White House, it didn’t take long for him to walk back his promise.
Moving the embassy and recognizing Jerusalem as the capitol of Israel is not a new concept. The fact that a politician, President Trump, is following through on the campaign promise to do so is the real story.