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by
Bridget Johnson

Bio

June 2, 2014 - 1:52 pm

President Obama again exerted his executive authority today to block a nearly 20-year-old requirement to move the U.S. Embassy from Tel Aviv to Jerusalem.

His memorandum to the secretary of State mirrored what he’s issued every six months.

“I hereby determine that it is necessary, in order to protect the national security interests of the United States, to suspend for a period of 6 months the limitations set forth in sections 3(b) and 7(b) of the Act,” Obama said.

Under the 1995 act, which was overwhelmingly approved in the House and Senate, the Embassy was supposed to be relocated from Tel Aviv to Jerusalem by May 31, 1999.

George W. Bush suspended the requirements of the bill, too, but always included this sentence in his memos: “My Administration remains committed to beginning the process of moving our embassy to Jerusalem.”

The Obama administration considers Jerusalem on the table for potential division in a final-status agreement.

State Department spokeswoman Jen Psaki told reporters today that there is no plan to cut off aid to the Palestinian Authority after its reconciliation with Hamas. “We will continue to evaluate the composition and policies of the new government and calibrate our approach accordingly,” she said.

“We’ll be in close consultation with the Hill and members of Congress on this issue now that the announcement about the interim technocratic government has been made,” Psaki continued. “We continue to believe our assistance to the PA and the Palestinian people are important, and I’m sure that will be part of the case we make as well.”

“The agreement with Hamas makes Abu Mazen directly responsible for the terrorism emanating from Gaza,” Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu said today. “The State of Israel will not conduct diplomatic negotiations with a Palestinian government that relies on Hamas, a terrorist organization that calls for the destruction of Israel.”

“Israel has gone to great lengths in recent months to negotiate in good faith with the Palestinian Authority, but President Abbas’ announcement earlier today of a Hamas-backed Palestinian transitional government makes clear once again that Israel does not have a viable partner for peace,” Sens. Marco Rubio (R-Fla.) and Mark Kirk (R-Ill.) said in a joint statement today.

“Hamas remains a terrorist group that has killed Americans. Its leaders continue to refuse to accept Israel’s right to exist. One month ago, we wrote to Secretary of State Kerry and urged him to state clearly the U.S. position regarding assistance to a power-sharing government backed by Hamas. We have yet to receive an answer… The administration’s initial reaction to continue aid is outrageous and runs counter to existing law. We call on the Obama administration to enforce the law. U.S. credibility as well as Israel’s security are at stake.”

Bridget Johnson is a veteran journalist whose news articles and opinion columns have run in dozens of news outlets across the globe. Bridget first came to Washington to be online editor at The Hill, where she wrote The World from The Hill column on foreign policy. Previously she was an opinion writer and editorial board member at the Rocky Mountain News and nation/world news columnist at the Los Angeles Daily News. She is an NPR contributor and has contributed to USA Today, The Wall Street Journal, National Review Online, Politico and more, and has myriad television and radio credits as a commentator. Bridget is Washington Editor for PJ Media.

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All Comments   (11)
All Comments   (11)
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Aid to the PA should continue because there are still some senior PA (and Hamas) officials who have not yet purchased their retirement properties on the French Riviera.
33 weeks ago
33 weeks ago Link To Comment
It is natural for the US to recognize a hamas govt because the US is negotiating with al Qaida, and we just traded 5 al Qaida heavyweights for a deserter who we should have left in Afghanistan. Why did we do this bad deal- we are trying to suck up to the taliban
34 weeks ago
34 weeks ago Link To Comment
More demokkkrat cowardice in the face of Islamic death threats; had Øbama been president during WWII the Nazis would have won all of Europe and the Japanese would have won the Pacific.
34 weeks ago
34 weeks ago Link To Comment
America, yet again, grovels in front of her enemies by betraying her friends. As an israeli i am not surprised. It's the kind of behavior we come to expect from the US. So have the Ukrainians the Syrians, the south vietnamese, etc. , etc. by next week, incidentally, Netanyahu will be cooperating with Hamas since Obama will force him to.
34 weeks ago
34 weeks ago Link To Comment
This administration's betrayal of our allies, including Israel, will hurt our own national security, besides being simply wrong, not to mention immoral.

That said, no, Israel's cooperation with Hamas will be on Israel. Sure, there will be pressure from the White House. But it is the State of Israel that is responsible for her government and her security, not anyone else, including the scum currently occupying 1600 Pennsylvania Ave.
34 weeks ago
34 weeks ago Link To Comment
I agree -- and Netanyahu is no pushover. Despite the large amount of pressure that Obama *can* in fact bring upon him, he can also stand strong against immoral arm-twisting of that type and be fully supported by the Israeli people.
34 weeks ago
34 weeks ago Link To Comment
Why has this move been put off for the past 15 years?

What is the "national security" issue?
34 weeks ago
34 weeks ago Link To Comment
Lack of secure banker's boxes for packing.
34 weeks ago
34 weeks ago Link To Comment
Continuing aid to the "PA government" (a de-facto recognition of Hamas) will go down as Obama's biggest betrayal of Israel to date.
34 weeks ago
34 weeks ago Link To Comment
"Biggest betrayal"? Hardly. More like par for the course. (And Obama would know all about par, wouldn't he?) Let's see: leaking details about Israeli military operations and secret bases; favoring the Islamists of Turkey over Israel; ignoring Israeli concerns over the Iranian nuclear project and the current P5+1 deal; blaming Israel for the collapse of the "peace talks". So why should it surprise that he ignores Israeli concerns over the PA-Hamas reconciliation and intends to continue funding?

Note that this acceptance of a role for Hamas follows just days after his deal with the Taliban. Both moves seem to be consistent with his vision of turning "violent" Islamists into political Islamists. He wants to bring the Taliban into the political process in Afghanistan, and he wants to bring Hamas into the political process in nascent "Palestine". That strategy isn't panning out in Turkey, crashed and burned in Egypt. But he's a true believer.
34 weeks ago
34 weeks ago Link To Comment
Your point is taken. However the reason why I claimed this particular betrayal was the "worst" was in large part because supposedly *both* Clinton (while Sec. of State) and Kerry made promises / assurances to Israel specifically that they would *not* recognize such a government if it ever came to be. So we're not talking about rescinding the promise of the Bush administration -- which is something Obama did early on regarding the Bush assurances given in trade for the Gaza withdrawal. We're talking about breaking promises they themselves gave not *that* long ago(!)

But, perhaps I shouldn't be surprised.
34 weeks ago
34 weeks ago Link To Comment
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