Zehut party chairman and former Likud MK Moshe Feiglin blasted Prime Minister Binyamin Netanyahu Thursday, blaming him for President Trump’s decision earlier Thursday to leave the US Embassy in Israel at its present location in Tel Aviv.
While President Trump had pledged in 2016 to move the American embassy from Tel Aviv to the Israeli capital, on Thursday he signed a security waiver, deferring action on the issue for six months. Every president since Bill Clinton has used the waiver to avoid relocating the embassy.
A spokesperson for the Prime Minister expressed “disappointment” in the decision, saying the Israeli government expects the US and other foreign powers to acknowledge Jerusalem as Israel’s capital.
“Israel's consistent position is that the American embassy, like the embassies of all countries with whom we have diplomatic relations, should be in Jerusalem, our eternal capital.
“Maintaining embassies outside the capital drives peace further away by helping keep alive the Palestinian fantasy that the Jewish people and the Jewish state have no connection to Jerusalem.
“Though Israel is disappointed that the embassy will not move at this time, we appreciate today's expression of President Trump’s friendship to Israel and his commitment to moving the embassy in the future.”
But former Likud MK Moshe Feiglin said Netanyahu was to blame for President Trump’s decision, accusing the Prime Minister of operating behind the scenes to prevent the embassy from being moved.
“Today, the citizens of Israel need to throw out Prime Minister Netanyahu, who with his own hands thwarted the moving of the American embassy to Jerusalem and caused Trump to not keep his promise to move the embassy,” said Feiglin.
The Zehut chairman cited a report in mid-May by Fox News correspondent Conor Powell which claimed that Netanyahu had asked Trump not to relocate the embassy.
“We already got proof of Netanyahu’s intent that the embassy not be moved from a number of sources around the world and in Israel,” continued Feiglin, “as, for example, Fox News reported: ‘Everyone I've spoken to in DC that has been briefed on #Jerusalem embassy move says #Netanyahu told #Trump not to move embassy at this time.’”
“The immediate consequences of the failure to move the embassy, thanks to the Israeli government, will be increased pressure by the Americans on Israel to divide Jerusalem.”
The Prime Minister’s Office denied the claim by Powell that Netanyahu had pushed Trump not to move the embassy, calling the report “a lie”.
"Netanyahu's consistent and clear stance supports the transfer of the embassy, and he even said so today."