Dan Shapiro
Dan ShapiroFlash 90

Former U.S. Ambassador to Israel Daniel Shapiro is suggesting a blueprint for fulfilling the Trump administration’s promise to move the American embassy to Jerusalem without harming the Israeli-Palestinian Authority (PA) peace process.

In an op-ed he published in the Foreign Policy magazine, Shapiro wrote that he has “never believed that arguments for moving the embassy were groundless, or that it must await a final Israeli-Palestinian peace agreement”, but also said that the Trump administration must be careful with executing the plan if it chooses to go through with it.

To that end, Shapiro suggested five principles that President Donald Trump should adhere to if he chooses to move the embassy: Preserve a realistic prospect for a two-state solution, consult with key allies and neighbors, watch out for the 50th anniversary of the Six Day War, plan it properly and be honest about the risks.

Shapiro urged Trump to ensure that the embassy would be in western Jerusalem so as not to prevent a Palestinian capital in the Arab neighborhoods of eastern Jerusalem.

“Before moving the embassy,” he wrote, “the new administration should begin a conversation with the Palestinians, who jealously guard their claims to Jerusalem. Add the Jordanians, whose King Abdullah has a special role, acknowledged by Israel, in safeguarding the city’s Muslim holy sites. Continue with the Saudis, whose legitimacy is tied to their leadership of Islam’s holiest sites, and the Egyptians, who will be key players in any effort to resolve, or even manage, the Israeli-Palestinian conflict.”

The former Ambassador also urged the Trump administration to “be honest about the risks” involved with moving the embassy to Jerusalem.

While the United States “should never be intimidated from pursuing its interests by the threat of violence…we also should not pretend that the risk of violence does not exist. Jerusalem has often been the site, and the spark, of violent upheavals, especially when the holy sites are at issue,” wrote Shapiro.

“For nearly seven decades, the United States and the international community have avoided declaring a view on Israel’s claim to Jerusalem as its capital. In such a sensitive area, caution is understandable. No one wants to trigger violence or sabotage the chances for a negotiated peace. But if Trump wants to change this long-standing approach, he should pursue it with care,” he concluded.

Moving the American embassy from Tel Aviv to Jerusalem in recognition of Jerusalem being Israel’s capital was a central campaign promise of Trump’s.

Despite the campaign promises, however, things seem to have stalled with regard to the move. Last week, White House press secretary Sean Spicer told reporters that no decision has been made yet on the subject.

Trump, in an interview on Fox News last week, refused to address the issue, saying that "I don't want to talk about it yet. It's too early."

This week, speaking to the Christian Broadcasting Network (CBN), Trump was noncommittal about the move, saying he was still “looking” at the possibility of moving the embassy, but also admitting such a move would not be “easy”.