WASHINGTON – Donald Trump is eager to move America’s embassy in Israel from Tel Aviv to Jerusalem, a move deferred repeatedly by presidents of all political stripes, one of his top aides said on Monday.
“That is very big priority for this president-elect, Donald Trump,” Kellyanne Conway, Trump's former campaign manager currently serving as a senior adviser, said on a conservative radio talk show. “As president-elect, I’ve heard him repeat it several times privately, if not publicly.”
Indeed, throughout his campaign for the presidency, Trump repeatedly said he would move the US Embassy if elected – a political promise frequently made that has never held. Longstanding US policy is to treat the status of Jerusalem as an issue to be settled in final-status negotiations with the Palestinians.
“It is something that our friend in Israel, a great friend in the Middle East, would appreciate and something that a lot of Jewish Americans have expressed their preference for,” Conway said. “It is a great move. It is an easy move to do based on how much he talked about that in the debates and in the sound bites.”
(Israel looks forward to working with Trump, says Israeli Ambassador to the US Ron Dermer)
Just ten days ago, however, Israeli Defense Minister Avigdor Liberman questioned whether it would be wise for Trump to prioritize moving America’s embassy upon taking office.
“It would be a mistake to take the embassy as a focal point,” Liberman told the Saban Forum, listing a host of other critical issues – the stability of the Palestinian Authority and threats from Hamas, Hezbollah and Iran among them – as far more pertinent.
On Sunday, in an interview with Fox News, Trump said he hopes that his son-in-law, Jared Kushner, can “make peace in the Middle East.” With a background in real estate, Kushner helped run Trump’s unlikely presidential campaign, but has no foreign policy experience as of yet.
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