Tags: Donald Trump | Israel | Middle East | Support Israel | elliott abrams | jerusalam | peace process

Elliott Abrams: Trump's Actions Ground Peace Process in 'Reality'

Image: Elliott Abrams: Trump's Actions Ground Peace Process in 'Reality'
Former Deputy National Security Adviser Elliott Abrams (Manuel Balce Ceneta/AP)

By    |   Wednesday, 06 Dec 2017 10:52 PM

President Donald Trump is "not destroying his own peace efforts" in the Middle East with his Jerusalem decision Wednesday, "but is grounding them in reality," former Deputy National Security Adviser Elliott Abrams said.

The president also "has done one other important thing: reacted to Arab and other Palestinian predictions of violence with the contempt they deserve," Abrams, who served in the George W. Bush administration, said in an op-ed piece in Haaretz, Israel's oldest daily newspaper.

"Those 'predictions' were in fact threats," he added, "and the president was absolutely right to face them down."

Abrams, now senior Fellow for Middle Eastern Studies at the Council on Foreign Relations in Washington, said the oddity of President Trump's recognition was it came just this week.

In 1995, Congress authorized the president to move the U.S. Embassy from Tel Aviv to Jerusalem — but Trump's predecessors delayed action for fear of inflaming tensions in the Mideast.

"The reason is obvious," Abrams said. "The fear that Arab states and Palestinians would object."

He noted Bush faced the same dilemma but eventually outlined his position — Israel would keep the major settlement blocks, among other issues — in 2004 letters to Prime Minister Ariel Sharon.

"We knew there would be ferocious objections, but we also knew that Bush would be stating facts," Abrams said. "He would be telling the truth."

President Trump's decision, he said, like Bush's in 2004, "tells Palestinians and Arab governments to respect reality and negotiate over serious issues.

"If you are serious about peace, you won’t complain about the Trump decision because it has no impact on issues that require actual negotiating."

The president's declaration, Abrams said, "shows full American support for Israel's legitimacy and its rights, including the right to do what every country does and choose its capital.

"That is the point.

"Donald Trump didn't make Jerusalem the capital of Israel any more than the United Nations made Israel the Jewish State," Abrams concluded. "He simply acknowledged a fact.

"Truth is the best basis for moving forward toward peace between Israel and its neighbors and between Israel and the world."

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Former Deputy National Security Adviser Elliott Abrams said President Donald Trump is "not destroying his own peace efforts" in the Middle East with his Jerusalem decision Wednesday.
elliott abrams, jerusalam, peace process, embassy, capital
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2017-52-06
Wednesday, 06 Dec 2017 10:52 PM
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