Obama’s Ambassador to Israel Backs Trump’s Embassy Move
Daniel Shapiro is no fan of the chief executive but concedes current White House administration 'inherited a very difficult situation'
Former President Barack Obama’s ambassador to Israel had to give the current administration credit for relocating America’s embassy to Jerusalem.
Daniel Shapiro, who served as America’s top diplomat to the Jewish state from 2011 to the end of the Obama presidency, told CNN on Monday that Trump was right to move the embassy from Tel Aviv.
“I do support the move of the embassy to Jerusalem because Jerusalem is Israel’s capital, has been since Israel’s founding,” he said. “And the embassy’s located in West Jerusalem, which in no conceivable map of the two-state solution would change hands.”
Trump delivered a video address Monday as part of the relocation ceremony, contending that American politicians have “failed to acknowledge the obvious.”
Since the 1990s, it has been U.S. law that the embassy should be transferred to Israel's historic capital. But successive administrations have postponed the move out of fear of angering the Palestinians and concern that it might derail the peace process.
But Trump concluded that decades of delays have done nothing to advance peace.
The odds are that Shapiro (pictured above) never will be seen wearing a "Make America Great Again" hat. He objected when CNN's Brianna Keilar asked if the "Trump Doctrine" explained the embassy move.
"I don't think I want to give the president credit for a doctrine that governs all his foreign policy, much of which is very unpredictable and haphazard, not well-staffed," he said.
Still, Shapiro said, the embassy now is where it belongs.
"It's reasonable to bust the myth that sometimes is trafficked on the Palestinian side that there is no historic Jewish or Israeli connection to Jerusalem," he said. "That's the positive about establishing the embassy in West Jerusalem."
Shapiro said Trump should have made it clear that the U.S. Embassy to a future Palestinian state could go in East Jerusalem.
"In fairness to the administration, they inherited a very difficult situation in which both the Israeli and the Palestinian leadership are simply not equipped to have negotiations," he said.
Regarding violence that erupted on Monday and resulted in the deaths of 55 Palestinians, Shapiro placed the blame squarely on Hamas.
"I wouldn't expect negotiations to achieve [success] even with the most well-equipped administration. Obviously, these disturbances in Gaza are extremely upsetting to watch," he said. "I do think it's fair to put the lion's share of the blame on Hamas.
"It is a terrorist organization that has tried to use rockets to attack Israel, and Israel has countered that with missile defense. It has tried to attack Israel with tunnels. Israel countered that with tunnel detection technology. What it has left to use is its own people."