‘Mov­ing em­bassy to Jerusalem a mat­ter of when, not if’

Jerusalem Post - - NEWS - • By MICHAEL WILNER Jerusalem Post Cor­re­spon­dent

WASH­ING­TON – The Trump ad­min­is­tra­tion re­mains com­mit­ted to mov­ing the US Em­bassy in Is­rael from Tel Aviv to Jerusalem, but its Mideast peace team stands united be­hind the pres­i­dent in his re­solve to de­lay the move, a se­nior White House of­fi­cial told The Jerusalem Post on Tues­day.

In a week­end in­ter­view with former Arkansas gover­nor Mike Huck­abee, Pres­i­dent Don­ald Trump said he wants to give Is­raeli-Pales­tinian peace talks a shot “be­fore I even think about mov­ing the em­bassy to Jerusalem.”

“If we can make peace be­tween the Pales­tini­ans and Is­rael, I think it’ll lead to, ul­ti­mately, peace in the Mid­dle East, which has to hap­pen,” Trump said.

The pres­i­dent signed a waiver in June that puts off a con­gres­sion­ally man­dated re­lo­ca­tion of the em­bassy. In do­ing so, he ex­plained that the move was a mat­ter of “when, not if.”

He will have to pro­vide Congress with an­other up­date on his pol­icy by the end of De­cem­ber.

“We’re go­ing to make a de­ci­sion in the not too dis­tant fu­ture,” he told Huck­abee.

Ad­min­is­tra­tion of­fi­cials cau­tioned against read­ing too far into the pres­i­dent’s com­ments, after sev­eral mem­bers of the Likud ex­pressed dis­ap­point­ment in his re­marks.

“The pres­i­dent is com­mit­ted to fa­cil­i­tat­ing an en­dur­ing peace deal,” said the se­nior White House of­fi­cial. “He was speak­ing about where things are right now and, as he has made clear be­fore, the mov­ing of the em­bassy is a mat­ter of when, not if.”

“The ad­min­is­tra­tion is fully uni­fied on this is­sue,” the of­fi­cial added.

Trump has re­peat­edly stated that Is­raeli-Pales­tinian peace is one of his top pri­or­i­ties as pres­i­dent.

Lead­ing his ef­fort are Ja­son Green­blatt, his spe­cial rep­re­sen­ta­tive for in­ter­na­tional ne­go­ti­a­tions, and Jared Kush­ner, his son-in-law and se­nior ad­viser.

The Demo­cratic Se­nate mi­nor­ity leader, Chuck Schumer of New York, weighed in on the pres­i­dent’s re­marks on Tues­day, call­ing once again for the em­bassy’s swift re­lo­ca­tion.

“Pres­i­dent Trump’s re­cent com­ments sug­gest his in­de­ci­sive­ness on the em­bassy’s re­lo­ca­tion,” Schumer said. “As some­one who strongly be­lieves that Jerusalem is the un­di­vided cap­i­tal of Is­rael, I am call­ing for the US Em­bassy in Is­rael to be re­lo­cated to Jerusalem.”

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