US President Donald Trump’s expected announcement of plans to move the US embassy in Israel to Jerusalem has quickly whipped up a furore, with pundits and foreign leaders warning of intifada-style upheaval and the collapse of Israeli-Palestinian peace efforts.

Which begs the simple question: why announce the move? Trump has spoken of a desire to strike the “ultimate deal” between Israelis and Palestinians – relocating the embassy would likely render Washington unable to play an honest broker in future talks.

Meanwhile, Trump has heard warnings from Arab and European leaders, UN boss Antonio Guterres and even his own State Department pen pushers. The message is clear: an embassy shift would break with decades of US policy and risk fuelling further unrest in the Middle East.

Even the US public rejects the idea. A recent survey from the Brookings Institution, a think tank, shows that 63 percent of Americans oppose the move, against 31 percent who back it. Democrats more strongly oppose relocation, while Republicans are almost evenly split.

To answer the conundrum of Trump’s much-anticipated policy shift, which was expected on Wednesday, Middle East Eye asked experts from across the political spectrum for their theories on what is motivating the 45th President.

1. The ‘Trump is acting presidential’ theory

First, MEE turned to Benny Avni, a pro-Israel hawk and New York Post columnist. In Avni’s charitable interpretation, Trump is finally coming good on what the American public wants and what its lawmakers decreed 22 years ago.

Congress passed a law in 1995 calling for the US embassy to be moved to Jerusalem. To keep it in Tel Aviv, its current location, presidents must sign waivers every six months, as Trump did in June and was due to review again this month.

“It is US law to move the embassy from Tel Aviv to Jerusalem,” Avni told MEE. “A host of American presidents, after promising during their election campaigns to do this, deferred it for six months at a time.”

Jerusalem, or at least the western part of the city, has long been home to Israel’s governing institutions and it is way past time for Washington and others to recognise it as a functioning capital city by posting envoys there, Avni said.

READ MORE: http://www.middleeasteye.net/news/analysis-reasons-behind-trump-s-jerusalem-embassy-move-1535530822

SOURCE: MIDDLE EAST EYE