The copy keeps coming, the pundits keep pontificating and the repercussions -- both serious and superficial, real and imaginary -- continue to pile up since President Donald Trump’s pronouncement that the United States was shifting course and recognizing Jerusalem as Israel’s political capital.
None of that is surprising, of course. That’s how media and politics work.
Here’s something I do find surprising, however.
Last week, Secretary of State Rex Tillerson -- is that still his job? -- said it would be at least three years before the American embassy in Israel actually moves from Tel Aviv to Jerusalem.
Get that? At least three years. Thats’s an eternity, given the whirlwind pace of political change these days both in the United States and the Middle East. And yet Tillerson’s statement, delivered during a speech to State Department employees and reported in The New York Times and elsewhere, went decidedly under appreciated.
(To be fair, Tillerson and others in the Trump White House, plus some outside political defenders, noted previously that an embassy move would take some time. But I believe this was Tillerson’s, and the administration’s, clearest statement to date concerning the time frame.)
Here’s the top of the Times story.
WASHINGTON -- Secretary of State Rex W. Tillerson said Tuesday that it is unlikely that the American Embassy will be moved to Jerusalem before 2020.
“It’s not going to be anything that happens right away,” Mr. Tillerson said, adding, “Probably no earlier than three years out, and that’s pretty ambitious.”
President Trump formally recognized Jerusalem last week as the Israeli capital, but he nevertheless signed a national security waiver, which will allow him to delay the movement of the embassy to Jerusalem from Tel Aviv for an additional six months. Administration officials have said there are functional and logistical reasons the United States cannot open a new embassy any time in the near future.