Jerusalem decision draws approval

The decision by President Donald Trump to formally recognize Jerusalem as the capital city of Israel and to relocate the U.S. Embassy from Tel Aviv to Jerusalem has drawn praise from Oklahoma lawmakers.

State Rep. John Bennett, R-Sallisaw, who is an ordained minister, welcomed the move.

“Many presidents have ‘promised’ this but have never followed through,” said Bennett. I’m proud of President Trump’s strong leadership in this decision. Israel is a strong and faithful friend of America and as Americans we should all stand as an unwavering friend of our brothers and sisters in Israel.

“This symbolic, historic and statutory authorized move by our president sends a strong message to our friends in Israel that we will always stand with them. I for one am in full support of this decision. It’s a shame it has taken this long to do what is right.”

Bennett cited Psalm 122:6-9: “Pray for the peace of Jerusalem: they that love thee shall prosper. Peace be within thy walls, and prosperity within thy palaces. For my brethren and companions’ sakes, I will say now, peace be within thee. For the sake of the House of the Lord our God I will seek thy good.” (King James Version).

U.S. Sen. James Lankford, R-Oklahoma, applauded the president’s decision, an action that Congress has supported for decades on a strong bipartisan basis:

“After more than two decades of bipartisan requests from Congress, I applaud the President’s recognition of Jerusalem as the capital of Israel and the start of a long process to move the U.S. Embassy to Jerusalem,” Lankford said. “The Government of Israel officially resides in Jerusalem; ignoring the obvious physical location of the Israeli Knesset and the office of the Prime Minister in West Jerusalem does not bring the region closer to peace, it only placates those that want to destabilize the region.

“Israel is not the problem in the Middle East, it is part of the solution. Nothing about (this) announcement will impact America’s commitment to honor any solution which brings about peace resulting from direct talks between the Israelis and Palestinians. Israel is America’s closest friend in the Middle East and she is a solid partner in research, strategic defense, and freedom. We have a unique relationship and a special bond among nations.”

In 1995, Congress passed the Jerusalem Embassy Act of 1995 with broad bipartisan support in the Senate by a 93-5 vote and in the House by a 374–37 vote. This law states that it is U.S. policy that Jerusalem should remain an undivided city, that Jerusalem should be recognized as the capital of Israel, and that the U.S. Embassy in Israel should be located in Jerusalem.

The Foreign Relations Authorization Act for Fiscal Year 2003, which also passed with bipartisan majorities in the House and Senate, urged the President to immediately begin relocating the Embassy to Jerusalem pursuant to the 1995 law. Most recently, on June 5 of this year, the Senate passed by a vote of 90-0 a resolution reaffirming the Jerusalem Embassy Act of 1995 and called upon the president to abide by its provisions.

Lankford visited Israel in August and March to meet with Israel Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu and other diplomats. On November 2, Lankford introduced a Senate resolution to commemorate the 100th Anniversary of the Balfour Declaration, the public statement issued by Great Britain on November 2, 1917, during World War I, announcing support for the establishment of a nation for Jewish people. The resolution passed the House on November 18 and awaits a vote in the Senate.

U.S. Rep. Markwayne Mullin, R-Oklahoma, agreed with President Trump.

“I commend President Trump on his decision to officially recognize Jerusalem as the capital of Israel,” said Mullin.  “While previous presidents have spoken about this day for years without ever following through, President Trump has acted boldly to press on with a decision that receives broad, bipartisan support across Congress.

“Home to Israel’s legislature, supreme court, president, and prime minister, it is clear that Jerusalem is the rightful center of government in Israel.  With Israel as our continued ally in the Middle East, I look forward to supporting President Trump in his efforts to foster peace between the Israelis and Palestinians.”