The president will order this Wednesday to begin the transfer of the American Embassy in the Holy City. A simple "affirmation of reality" tempered his advisers.
The White House confirmed Tuesday night the content of the decision that will be made public this Wednesday. In a speech scheduled for 13 hours in Washington (20 hours in the Middle East), Donald Trump will announce that the United States recognize Jerusalem as the capital of Israel. "It's a simple affirmation of reality, both historical and contemporary," says a presidential adviser.
In the process, Donald Trump will order the State Department to begin preparations for the relocation of the US Embassy from Tel Aviv to the Holy City. This can not be done "overnight", he will sign the waiver to the 1995 law conditioning this transfer to the requirements of national security. His three predecessors had invoked this clause every six months. Trump believes that their caution did not produce anything. "We recognize that this is a sensitive subject," says the White House, "but it will not be settled by ignoring a simple truth."
That said, the President's advisers are working to minimize the impact of a measure perceived as biased and prejudging the outcome of the peace process - currently at a standstill. Jerusalem is also claimed as the capital of their future state by the Palestinians, its status to be defined directly between the parties. "The decision (US) does not affect the issues that remain to be negotiated, says a member of the National Security Council. We recognize that the geographical boundaries (of the Israeli "capital") are subject to discussion. And we do not touch the status quo on the Holy Places. We leave space for the Palestinians to move forward. "
"This embodies a major promise of the campaign"
The advisers and diplomats mobilized Tuesday to present the decision are struggling to explain what must win American interests in the region. "This is a major promise of the campaign," says one of them. "The president's ruling is that it's the right time," said another. "We tried for 22 years to deny the facts, recognize the reality is a significant change," insists a third. They admit, however, that a "robust security plan" had to be activated "to protect our citizens and our embassies in the Middle East".
Donald Trump has ignored the warnings he has received in recent days from Arab and European leaders, including Emmanuel Macron. "Everyone we talked to wants to stay involved in the peace process," advises his advisers. We are not waiting for a break on the part of one of the parties or one of the facilitators ". Washington says it is loosely in favor of a two-state solution, "if it's the decision" of those concerned. Alternatively, a plan apparently concocted between Americans and Saudis would grant them limited sovereignty over a fragmented territory excluding Jerusalem.
To calm the game, the US administration promises to take its time. "No embassy anywhere in the world can be built in less than three or four years," said a diplomat. The need to accommodate a thousand officials and to respect security constraints "excludes simply placing a plaque marked embassy" on the Consulate General in Jerusalem, the current representation to the Palestinians.
Another Trump instruction is to make the transfer "at minimal cost to US taxpayers". He is therefore preparing to sign the same derogation every six months until the end of his term, "unless Congress changes the law", which would not be without irony.