JERUSALEM, Israel – President Donald Trump told former Arkansas Gov. Mike Huckabee he'll delay moving the U.S. Embassy from Tel Aviv to Jerusalem. His statement is the latest in the ongoing saga of whether or not the Trump administration will do what successive U.S. administrations have failed to do since 1995.
The question some here in Israel are asking is "why the delay?" President Trump says he wants to give the "peace process" a chance before making a potentially provocative move that would undermine the "process." Yet the prospect of a "final" solution between Israel and the Palestinian Authority seems as elusive as ever. Instead, the two groups that seem to be making peace aren't Israel and the Palestinian Authority, but rather the Palestinian Authority's Fatah faction and Hamas. The latest example of their reconciliation took place just days ago when a large delegation of P.A. officials made their way to Gaza to restore relations between the two Palestinian groups.
Now after Trump's statement, the question remains, will the U.S. Embassy ever re-locate to Jerusalem?
Earlier this year, CBN News interviewed ICEJ Vice President David Parsons on the 50th anniversary of the reunification of Jerusalem. That's when Israeli soldiers from the 55th Paratroopers Brigade captured the Old City during the 1967 Six-Day War. After their victory, the city lay in the hands of the Jewish people for the first time in more than 2,000 years. CBN commemorated this victory in the docudrama "In Our Hands: The Battle for Jerusalem."
Parsons dismissed the notion that moving the embassy would undermine the "peace process." He noted, "I think that at least putting our embassy in west Jerusalem would actually strengthen the peace process. It would give Israel confidence that its ally, America, is behind it. And I think that the longer that the nations wait to do this, the bigger and bigger the question Jerusalem becomes."
Parsons feels the city of Jerusalem seems to be on a 50-year cycle of favor.
"When you look at – you see – not only the last 50 years when the city was reunified in 1967. One hundred years ago, when Allenby, the British general, marched into the city, [he] liberated it from the Ottoman Turks, just as the British government was committing to building a Jewish state here. Even 150 years ago, 1867, General Warren discovered the Old City, the original City of David, south of the Temple Mount, and each of these things, every 50 years, something [is] happening in Jerusalem to really free it and release it into its prophetic purposes."
Israeli leaders hope that includes relocating the embassy. Former Israeli Ambassador to the United Nations Dore Gold told CBN News moving the embassy would resonate to the core of the Jewish people. He said, "Well you know; Israel reunited Jerusalem 50 years ago, in 1967. But the connection with the Jewish people to Jerusalem spiritually goes back 2,000 years. And our claim, our presence in Jerusalem has been here for decades … Jews have been streaming back to their ancient capital for years. And the movement of the embassy from Tel Aviv to Jerusalem is an American recognition of the special ties of Jerusalem to the Jewish people. It may be symbolic, but it goes to the core of the identity of Israel."
This week thousands of Christian pilgrims from the nations have flooded Jerusalem to celebrate the biblical Feast of Tabernacles with the ICEJ. Most of them would agree with Parsons when he said, "I think the U.S. moving the embassy to Jerusalem is the right thing to do. It's way overdue and, of course, it would be a blessing to the U.S.."
For many of these Christians, the questions remains, how long may this blessing be delayed.