(photo credit: REUTERS)
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.”
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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.