Trump still mulling US embassy move to Jerusalem, Tillerson says

Speaking to NBC's 'Meet the Press,' the US secretary of state explained that the president is taking a "measured" approach to deliberations over the move.

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May 14, 2017 16:54
1 minute read.
THE FRONT of the US Embassy in Tel Aviv. Will it move to Jerusalem?

THE FRONT of the US Embassy in Tel Aviv. Will it move to Jerusalem?. (photo credit: REUTERS)

 
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WASHINGTON -- US President Donald Trump is taking a "measured" approach to deliberations over moving America's embassy in Israel from Tel Aviv to Jerusalem, his secretary of state, Rex Tillerson, said over the weekend.

Speaking with Chuck Todd on NBC's Meet the Press, Tillerson said the president's decision will be informed "by the parties involved" in the Middle East peace process.

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"The president, I think rightly, has taken a very deliberative approach to understanding the issue itself, listening to input from all interested parties in the region, and understanding, in the context of a peace initiative, what impact would such a move have," Tillerson said.

"He wants to put a lot of effort into seeing if we cannot advance a peace initiative between Israel and Palestine," the secretary continued. "And so I think in large measure the president is being very careful to understand how such a decision would impact a peace process."
Pence: Trump seriously considering moving US embassy to Jerusalem (credit: REUTERS)

Trump campaigned on a promise to move the embassy, but quickly changed course after taking office, advised by Mideast allies that such an action would roil the region and undermine his efforts to jumpstart peace talks.

"Most certainly Israel's view on whether Israel views it as being helpful to a peace initiative or perhaps a distraction," Tillerson added. "I think the president's being very measured in how he goes about this– and appropriately so."

Shortly after Tillerson made the comments, Education Minister and Bayit Yehudi leader Naftali Bennett urged Netanyahu to make it clear to the Trump administration that a sizeable swath of the Israeli public still expects the American embassy in Tel Aviv to be relocated to Jerusalem during his visit at the end of the month.

Taking to social media to deliver the message Sunday, Bennett wrote on Twitter: "Countries from across the world place their embassies in Washington DC, thus this needs to be applied in Jerusalem, our capital for 3000 years."

"Moving the US embassy in Israel to (Jerusalem) strengthens Israel and strengthens the prospects for peace," Bennett added.

The Bayit Yehudi faction in the Knesset represents the national-religious movement in Israel that rejects a Palestinian state and calls for the annexation of parts of the West Bank.

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