By Angela Sparks
Jerusalem Channel Special Correspondent
Amid the controversy and speculation surrounding U.S. President Donald Trump’s upcoming 24-hour whirlwind tour of Israel, the looming question is:
Will Trump keep his campaign promise and move the U.S. embassy from Tel Aviv to Jerusalem?
If that is his plan, his timing is impeccable!
Mr. Trump is set to arrive in Israel May 22. His visit nearly coincides with Jerusalem Day, the 50th anniversary of the reunification of the capital under Israeli control after the 1967 Six Day War.
Yom Yerushalayim, also known as Jerusalem Day, commemorates Jerusalem’s reunification in 1967. The day begins on the 28th day of the month of Iyyar on the Hebrew calendar. This year that equates to Wednesday May 24.
Trump’s timing has Jewish and Christian Zionists alike praying that he will make the “big” announcement to move the embassy, prompting the rest of the world to accept reality –that Jerusalem belongs to Israel and is the eternal capital of the Jewish State.
In 1995 the United States Congress passed into law the Jerusalem Embassy Act. The Act funded and set into motion the relocation of the U.S. embassy from Tel Aviv to Jerusalem no later than May 31, 1999. The Act also called for Jerusalem to remain an undivided city and be recognized as the capital of Israel. However, there was a provision in the law affording the president a waiver. Every president since has claimed the waiver on national security interests or Congressional overreach and the law has never been implemented. The waiver must be renewed every six months and is set to expire on June 1. This is another reason supporters of the embassy move find hope in the timing of Trump’s visit. Will he sign the waiver or finally implement the law?
In March, Florida Rep. Ron DeSantis led a delegation to Jerusalem to tour locations for the embassy and met with Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu. Following the tour, on April 27, Rep. DeSantis spoke at an event on Capitol Hill for the launching of the Congressional Israel Victory Caucus where he said that President Trump WILL announce the relocation of the embassy during his trip to Israel.
“What better time could there be to announce the relocation of the U.S. embassy from Tel Aviv to Jerusalem than when you are over here celebrating with our Israeli friends on this very important 50th anniversary of the liberation of Jerusalem,” DeSantis said.
But conflicting statements and reports have left supporters of the embassy move confused and upset.
Sunday, on NBC’s “Meet The Press,” U.S. Secretary of State Rex Tillerson further muddied the waters by stating that while Trump is still deciding on the embassy move, the president is focusing his effort on advancing a peace initiative between Israel and the Palestinians.
Tillerson went on to say, “And so, I think the President is being very careful to understand how such a decision would effect the peace process.” That statement drew public response from Netanyahu, saying, “Moving the embassy to Jerusalem will not harm the peace process but will do the opposite. It will advance it by righting a historical wrong and by shattering the Palestinian Authorities fantasy that Jerusalem is not the capital of Israel.”
On Monday, in response to a tweet sent out by senior Fox News Correspondent, Connor Powell, Netanyahu found himself pushing back again. Powell wrote, “Everyone I’ve spoken to in D.C. that has been briefed on the #Jerusalem move says #Netanyahu told #Trump not to move the embassy at this time.” A charge the Prime Minister swiftly rebuked as a lie! To back up their denial of the tweet, the PM’s office released a transcript portion of the Prime Ministers meeting with President Trump in February in Washington as proof that Powell’s report was a lie.
One thing is certain– this situation requires our earnest intercession. We must make it a priority. Let us then, for Zion’s sake, rattle the rafters of heaven with believing prayers that God’s will be done on earth as it is in heaven. That President Trump lend his ear to the truth of the Holy Spirit and the voice of a stranger he will not follow.
Amen and Shalom!