Trump advisors divided over moving US embassy to Jerusalem

Will Trump move the US embassy from Tel Aviv to Jerusalem?

November 11, 2016 14:29
2 minute read.
Donald Trump

Donald Trump speaks at his election night rally in Manhattan. (photo credit: REUTERS)


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Advisors of President-elect Donald Trump are divided over the question of whether the campaign pledge to move the United States embassy to Jerusalem would now be fulfilled.

“Many prime ministers of Israel have that close to their heart. Many presidents of the US have committed to do that, and he [Trump] said as well he would do that,” advisor Walid Phares said.

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Then he added a caveat to the pledge.

“But he [Trump] would do that in consensus,” Phares said. He issued the statement in an interview with BBC radio that was widely publicized by CNN on Thursday.

“The other thing he has said that we need to pay attention to; he is ready and he will immediately move to try to solve the problem between Palestinians and Israelis, something lingering for many years. It won’t be impossible for him to broker a deal between Israelis and Palestinians, at least he is going to go in that direction and not waste eight years, or at least four years for now, not doing anything for Palestinians and Israelis,” Phares said.

But a Trump advisor David Friedman told The Jerusalem Post  Wednesday  that one of the administration’s first moves would be to follow through on the campaign promise made last month by Trump’s daughter, Ivanka, according to which her father would move the US Embassy from Tel Aviv to Jerusalem.

“It was a campaign promise, and there is every intention to keep it,” Friedman said.

Another advisor Jason Greenblatt made a similar statement to Army Radio on Thursday.

Immediately after Trump’s election Jerusalem Mayor Nir Barkat tweeted, “In your term as President I am confident that you will continue to empower our city by reaffirming its sovereignty and moving the US embassy to Jerusalem.”

Congress has long called for the relocation of the embassy and in 1995 approved the Jerusalem Embassy Act, which mandated that this must be done by May 31, 1999.

But US President Barack Obama, along with former presidents Bill Clinton and George Bush, have used a presidential waiver to avoid executing the act, claiming that it was not in the country’s national security interest to do so.

At the State Department briefing in Washington later in the day, deputy spokesman Mark Toner explained that “since Israel’s founding, the administrations of both parties have maintained a consistent policy here and that is recognizing no state as having sovereignty over Jerusalem.”

He added that the Obama administration remains committed to this policy.

Toner added that the Obama administration would make sure the new administration would understand “our rationale behind exercising that waiver.”

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