By Victor Ochieng
United States President Donald Trump is headed to the Middle East in a few weeks time. During his visit, the president is expected to make far-reaching policy decisions, especially relating to U.S. ties with the region’s nations. One of the most challenging moments for U.S. presidents when they’ve got to deal with the Middle East is the small yet mighty nation of Israel. How a U.S. president handles Israel is a matter of great interest both for the Israelis and Americans, and that’s why the Israel agenda is such a strong campaign tool in U.S. presidential elections.
As this decisive moment approaches, Pastor John Hagee, founder and senior pastor of Cornerstone Church, is foreseeing something, and it’s a “Truman moment” for the president. What does this mean? Well, Hagee is simply pointing out that President Trump will be faced with the challenging task of either standing strongly with Israel or siding with the rest of the world. That was exactly what former U.S. president Harry Truman encountered during his reign.
“In 1948, when President Truman recognized the newly independent state of Israel, he did so in the face of fierce opposition from his advisers. Secretary of State George C. Marshall—whom the president regarded as “the greatest living American”—adamantly opposed the decision,” he wrote. “Despite the controversy, it is now a source of a great pride for many Americans that our nation recognized Israel just minutes after it declared independence. Truman’s decision to choose morality over realpolitik, in defiance of his advisers, will forever be a focal point of American and Israeli history—and of Truman’s legacy.”
During his campaign, President Trump promised that he’d move the U.S. Embassy from Tel Aviv to the holy city of Jerusalem and this is a time when the whole world will turn their focus to the Middle East to see what the president does about the issue.
“In a few weeks, as mandated by the Jerusalem Embassy Act of 1995, he will have to decide whether to exercise the legislation’s presidential waver or move the U.S. embassy in Israel from Tel Aviv to Jerusalem,” Hagee wrote.
There are naysayers though. Some people believe that moving the U.S. Embassy to Jerusalem is likely to anger Arab nations.
This was a campaign promise and it no doubt worked to win support for the president from Zionist Christians. The only challenge is that, like Truman, the president is hearing so much from people who believe that the move is likely to destabilize the Middle East even further.
Whatever people say, there are those who’re keen on knowing whether or not the president is going to renege on his promise. It’s good to note that this isn’t a decision of the bureaucrats, but a decision that lies right at the Resolute Desk in the Oval Office.