US President Donald Trump
is giving “serious consideration” to moving the American Embassy from Tel Aviv to Jerusalem al-Quds, Vice President Mike Pence has said.
Speaking at the White House for an “Israeli Independence Day” on Tuesday, Pence said the president is considering the relocation “as we speak,” but he did not elaborate.
“To be clear, the president has also personally committed to resolving the Israeli and Palestinian conflict,” he added.
“Thanks to the president’s tireless leadership, momentum is building and good will is growing. And that while there will undoubtedly have to be compromises, you can rest assured, President Donald Trump will never compromise the safety and security of the Jewish state of Israel, not now, not ever.”
The comments came a day before a scheduled visit to the White House by Palestinian President Mahmoud Abbas.
A campaign pledge
During the 2016 presidential campaign, Trump promised Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu that he would recognize Jerusalem al-Quds as Israel’s undivided capital.
US President Donald Trump (R) and Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu shaking hands following a joint press conference at the White House, February 15, 2017. (Photo by AFP)
Relocating the embassy is a politically charged move that would anger Palestinians who are seeking to create an independent state in the territories of the West Bank, East Jerusalem al-Quds and the Gaza Strip, with East al-Quds as the capital.
Such an act would also put Washington at odds with most of the international community, including its closest allies in Europe and the Arab world.
The Palestinian Authority has also warned that moving the US Embassy would further inflame tensions and doom any chance for negotiations with the Israelis to succeed.
Former US presidents like Bill Clinton and George W. Bush also promised to move the embassy to Jerusalem while they were running for office, but did not follow through on the pledge.
Trump ready to give up ‘two-state solution’
At a White House news
conference with Netanyahu in February, Trump also broke with longtime US policy when he said he could endorse “a one-state” solution to the conflict.
“Looking at two-state and one-state, and I like the one that both parties like. I’m very happy with the one that both parties like. I can live with either one,” he said at the time.
Trump’s increased support for Israel has emboldened the Tel Aviv regime to intensify anti-Palestinian activities such as settlement expansions. Trump’s predecessor Barack Obama often clashed with the Israeli prime minister.