THE FOREIGN SERVICE JOURNAL
The 2017 version of the bill contains
a proposal to cut in half spending desig-
nated for security at embassies world-
wide. U.S. diplomats and staff working
under threat conditions, wherever they
serve, will incur even greater risks if this
The principles that underlie our
Middle East policies have been in place
since the post-World War I era and the
independence of Israel after 1948, and
they apply to the status of Jerusalem, at
the epicenter of complex local, regional
and global fault lines across that part of
The United States has, from the recog-
nition of the independence of the State of
Israel, maintained a consistent position
on the Jerusalem question and its cen-
trality to the conflicting stances by Israel
and the Palestinians as to Jerusalem’s
primacy as their capital city.
Certainly, since 1948, there have
been efforts to relocate the U.S. embassy
from Tel Aviv to Jerusalem as part of the
U.S. commitment to the very existence
of Israel. Such a move—or even the
suggestion that this relocation might
be considered in the near term, or even
the foreseeable future—runs great risks
that would touch a “seismic” zone that
extends beyond Jerusalem and our
commitment to Israel as a state.
In its basic application, the U.S.
stance on Jerusalem that has stood for
almost 70 years maintains the prin-
ciple that the parties to the central
dispute must themselves negotiate how
Jerusalem can best exist in a crucible of
conflict that goes far beyond the narrow
focus of the city itself.
Many who have commented on the
current simmering of the issue know
well the wider implications of the dis-
pute, and the historic political, religious
and geographic complexities that make
this Gordian knot impossible (at this
time, at least) to untie.
The present state of affairs throughout
the Middle East (and bordering lands),
and the inability of the United Nations
and the major powers outside the region
to modify the “tectonics” of the issue,
require that policies meant to avert slip-
page in the central fault must remain
in place until a modern-day Solomon
descends on the scene.
In the meantime, to move our
embassy to Jerusalem will only exacer-
bate the stresses on the fault. Ignoring the
inherent potential for disaster in such a
decision would be folly, pure and simple.
In“Notes to the New Administration”
in the January-February
, the entry
by Michelle Dworkin (“Set an Example
of Respect for Diversity”) misstated the
number of Locally Employed staff sup-
porting USAID overseas. According to
the June 2016 USAID Staffing Report, the
number is 4,935, not 10,000.
this month’s issue.
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