'Trump's heart in the right place, State Dep. slowing him down'

'After Obama, Netanyahu finally has a real friend in the White House,' says former US Ambassador to the UN, John Bolton.

Eliran Baruch ,

Fmr. Ambassador to the UN John Bolton
Fmr. Ambassador to the UN John Bolton
Eliran Baruch

Former US Ambassador to the United Nations John Bolton praised President Trump’s handling of the US-Israel relationship, telling Arutz Sheva that after a chilly relationship with Trump’s predecessor, Barack Obama, Prime Minister Binyamin Netanyahu finally ‘has a real friend in the White House”.

Speaking with Arutz Sheva during the 35th annual American Friends of Bet El dinner in New York, Bolton responded to reports that President Trump was weighing a major shift in US policy regarding Jerusalem this week, and is planning to either announce the relocation of the US embassy from Tel Aviv to Jerusalem, or making a formal statement recognizing the city as Israel’s capital.

Recent reports have claimed that the president has pushed for the embassy move, over the opposition of senior officials who have warned of an Arab backlash.

Bolton said Trump’s “heart is in the right place on this,” arguing that the State Department is largely responsible for blunting the president’s desire to follow through on his campaign promise to relocate the embassy.

“There are a lot of voices in the State Department and elsewhere that say you can’t even do what he may be about to do.”

With a December 4th deadline for extending the security waiver that allows the US embassy in Israel to remain in Tel Aviv, some senior US officials have claimed that the president may again delay the embassy move, and instead recognize Jerusalem as Israel’s capital.

Even if the president declines to move the embassy, Bolton told Arutz Sheva, recognizing Jerusalem as Israel’s capital would represent a sea-change in American policy towards Israel.

“It’s pointing in the direction where he’ll take an important step in declaring that… Jerusalem is Israel’s capital. That may not sound like anything that’s terribly dramatic. But that would represent an expressed repudiation of UN General Assembly Resolution 181, which would have made Jerusalem what they call a ‘corpus separatum’ – an internationally supervised city, and separate Arab and Jewish states. 181 has been dead for a long time. Trump’s saying ‘Jerusalem is Israel’s capital’ would bury it once and for all. That’s not the same as moving the embassy, but it’s a significant step, because where else do you put an embassy but somebody’s capital?”

The former ambassador added that President Trump was a “real friend” to the Jewish state, in stark contrast to what he called the “difficult times” of the Obama administration’s relationship with Israel.

“Prime Minister Netanyahu understands better than anybody in Israel the risks and the dangers that Israel faces from conventional terrorists threats – suicide bombers and the like – all the way up to what Ariel Sharon once called the threat of the Iranian nuclear Holocaust. He has weathered very difficult times during the Obama administration. Now he has a real friend in the White House.”