Florida politicians had mixed responses to President Donald Trump‘s decision to recognize Jerusalem as the capital of Israel and to instruct the State Department to develop a plan to move the U.S. embassy there from Tel Aviv.
Florida Gov. Rick Scott, in Israel on a trade mission, posted a video of himself and wife Ann Scott at the Western Wall praising the president’s announcement.
“This is a great day,” Scott said. “I stand with Israel, I stand with all the citizens of Israel. The state of Fla stands with all the citizens of Israel. This is an outstanding day for both Israel and the citizens of the United States of America.”
Said Republican Florida Sen. Marco Rubio: “Today’s announcement is an important step in the right direction. Unequivocal recognition of Jerusalem as Israel’s capital will be complete when the U.S. embassy is officially relocated there.”
U.S. Rep. Brian Mast, R-Palm City, in an interview with Fox News, said Trump’s announcement is cause for “a day of celebration.” Mast criticized Hamas and others calling for a “day of rage” in response.
“For those that are saying this is going to cause unrest, you talk about groups like Hamas out there calling for a day of rage, it shows exactly who any blood would be on the hands of – it’s those that would go out there and ultimately bring about violence and not anybody else to blame. They’re constantly looking for a reason to go out there and cause disruption and it’s not a surprise that they’d try to use this,” Mast said.
Even U.S. Rep. Ted Deutch, D-Boca Raton, an ardent Trump critic, voiced cautious approval.
“The President’s decision today is a recognition of existing U.S. law that Jerusalem is the capital of Israel and that the U.S. embassy should ultimately be located in the capital,” said Deutch in a joint statement with Rep. Ileana Ros-Lehtinen, R-Miami, a fellow member of the House Foreign Affairs Subcommittee on the Middle East and North Africa.
The Deutch and Ros-Lehtinen statement continued: “There is no debate that the Jewish people have a deep-rooted religious, cultural and historic tie to Jerusalem, and today’s decision reaffirms that connection. The fact is that Jerusalem – an ancient and holy city to all three monotheistic faiths – will remain the capital of the Jewish state in any iteration of a negotiated two-state solution. Today’s decision does not preclude our shared goal of two states for two peoples to be negotiated between the parties themselves. Now is the time for urgent progress towards the President’s stated objective of achieving a real and lasting peace.”
U.S. Rep. Alcee Hastings, D-Delray Beach, was critical.
“I believe that Jerusalem is and should remain the undivided capital of Israel. To deny the Jewish connection to Jerusalem would be to deny world history. That being said, the manner in which the Trump Administration has announced its recognition of Jerusalem as the capital of Israel is of great concern,” Hastings said.
“In the context of peace negotiations between the Israelis and the Palestinians, the sensitivity of the status of Jerusalem cannot be overstated…The United States has long held that the final status of Jerusalem should be determined as part of an agreement negotiated between the State of Israel and the Palestinian leadership. The President’s announcement undercuts this position, as well as the role of the United States as an honest mediator of the conflict,” Hastings said.
U.S. Rep. Lois Frankel, D-West Palm Beach, offered this response: “The President’s announcement today is consistent with current U.S. law and reaffirms what we already know: Jerusalem is the eternal capital of the Jewish people and the State of Israel. The U.S. must recommit to our long-standing goal of a negotiated solution that leads to two states for two people. Only direct negotiations between the parties will allow Israelis and Palestinians to live side by side in peace, security and mutual recognition.”