Donald Trump promoted a nationalist “America First” approach to foreign policy throughout his campaign for the presidency. But in the months since taking office, the president appears to have softened a number of policy positions related to nations in the Middle East and North Africa (MENA) region. Even after his first trip abroad, which included visits to Saudi Arabia and Israel, there remains a great deal of uncertainty about this administration’s approach toward the MENA region. What approach will the White House adopt toward the Israeli-Palestinian peace process? Will Donald Trump uphold the Iran deal?
On June 29, Governance Studies hosted a panel of experts to discuss U.S. foreign policy in the Middle East and examine how the Trump administration is likely to engage with critical issues and challenges over the next four years. Panelists also explored the ways in which politics—and the division of power between the executive and legislative branches—will affect the president’s ability to advance his goals in this area.
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"There are concerns that placing the [Israeli] embassy in Jerusalem would be a sign that the United States recognizes it as a part of Israel's sovereign territory, even though the position of the U.S. over the last 70 years or so is that Jerusalem is actually disputed territory, and that the status of it will have to be resolved through negotiations."
"I would be surprised if the State Department interpreted the Jerusalem Embassy Act as requiring it to break ground on a new embassy facility or take other such steps. The plain language of the statute only requires that the secretary of state determine and report to Congress that the U.S. Embassy in Jerusalem has officially opened."