U.S. Embassy opens in Jerusalem

by Nesanel Segal | Tuesday, May 15, 2018

Monday’s opening of the U.S. Embassy in Jerusalem was not yet the promised move of the embassy from Tel Aviv. The ambassador now has an office in the Jerusalem Consulate General’s annex campus instead of in a rented room at the King David Hotel. A plaque now marks the identity as ‘United States Embassy – Jerusalem, Israel’ and adds President Trump’s name.

This first phase only involves shifting the ambassador and core staff to Jerusalem — less than a half-dozen people. The new presence will operate as a diplomatic nerve center.
Including building modifications and additional security, this first move cost less than $400,000, within the revised budget.

Some Palestinians view moving the embassy as a major betrayal of Washington’s decades-old role as a potential broker for a peace deal with Israel. Those who arrived at the ceremony to celebrate the opening of the new embassy dismissed claims that the move undermines the chances for peace between Israelis and Palestinians.

On Tuesday, May 15th, Palestinians marked the Nakba, Arabic for “catastrophe,” a term used for the flight and expulsion of an estimated 600,000 Palestinians seven decades ago upon Israel’s creation.

President Trump’s national security adviser, John Bolton, asserted that moving the embassy from Tel Aviv is “a recognition of reality” that ends the United States and Israel “operating on a completely different wavelength.”

“Recognizing reality always enhances the chances for peace,” Bolton added.

Adapted from The Washington Post, Ruth Eglash with Brian Murphy, “Jerusalem welcomes the new U.S. Embassy as Palestinians decry ‘hostile’ move,” Middle East, revised, May 14, 2018.

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A pungent captain

An arrogant lieutenant joins the cavalry of a pungent captain at an outpost in the middle of the desert surrounded by Comanche and Apache Indians.

Summary of the film A Thunder of Drums from MGM (1961)

as broadcast by the GRIT television network (May 2018)

Help! What is a pungent captain?

Besides this, to be pedantic, is a question: Is the outpost surrounded by Indians, or is the desert surrounded by Indians?

U.S. Secretary of State Mike Pompeo visits Israel

Plans underway to open the U.S. Embassy in Jerusalem

Secretary Pompeo visited Israel on April 29, 2018, having just visited Saudi Arabia and before visiting Jordan.

Pompeo announced that the new embassy will be opened on May 14th, the 70th anniversary of Israel’s independence and 70 years of recognition of the state by the U.S.

A reference to final peace agreements came when Pompeo said that “… the boundaries of Israeli sovereignty in Jerusalem remain subject to negotiations between the parties …” Primarily, Pompeo addressed “… efforts to counter Iran’s destabilizing and malign activity throughout the Middle East …”

Irony of ironies: Secretary Pompeo met Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu in Tel Aviv where the Prime Minister maintains an office. Jerusalem is the seat of Israel’s government, but Tel Aviv will continue to be the practical location for international affairs.

I’ve mentioned before that Israel’s international airport is a short limousine ride from Tel Aviv destinations. Jerusalem, in contrast, is 40-45 minutes away (50 km).

Jerusalem has an airport, but international regulators refuse to authorize international flights into the airport. It’s not yet clear to me why Jerusalem is off limits. If it’s a political issue, the pertinent element is that the airport is in disputed Jerusalem territory.

If we can dismiss political matters, the Jerusalem airport is not secure and safe. The runway lies a short distance from the Jerusalem security barrier and the Palestinian city of Ramallah. Israel police and military forces have made little effort to keep Palestinians away from their side of the barrier. Consequently, Palestinians have been heaving rocks onto the tarmac with impunity.

See the official transcript of Pompeo’s remarks on the website of the U.S. State Department.

 

I’ve postponed my bête noire appointments

This month was going to be dedicated to the Palestinian Authority — how they’ve done nothing helpful for their people.

U.S. President Donald Trump’s policies generally aggravate me (March into April).

On the other hand, pundit Bill Bennett (February) has cut back from being an apologist for President Trump. Listening to him has become less aggravating, sometimes even not aggravating at all.

Coverage by journalists tends to aggravate me. More of that in future months.

U.S. tax forms just aggravated me — the forms, not the tax levy.

So, let me step back to watch the star Sirius.

Let me catch up with Israel’s regional and city planning.

And let me sit back to drink at glass of hot tea with sugar.

A New Year in Southeast and South Asia

Lunar calendars in southeast and south Asia are marking a new year at the time of the new moon in April 2018, this according to the U.S. Department of State.

The peoples who are celebrating a new year are:

  • Lao
  • Thai
  • Khmer
  • Nepali
  • Bengali
  • Sinhala
  • Tamil

This new moon is the first since the spring equinox.

On the Hebrew calendar, this is the new moon of the month of Iyar. Iyar is the second month of the calendar, although the new Jewish year begins with the new moon of the seventh month. This is the holiday Rosh Hashanah.

Don’t force disbanding of a foreign army

This issue came up concerning peace with North Korea. Some pundits and some experts (some pundits are lamentably not experts) are suggesting that North Korea disband its army in exchange for a peace treaty with South Korea.

While this idea has merit, it is unwise. North Korea’s military is a huge employer – perhaps the largest employer in the country. How would these men earn a living otherwise? Disbanding North Korea’s army would disrupt their society, and who needs that?