Top US officials warn Trump against moving US embassy to Jerusalem

Marcus Newton
May 16, 2017

An official in Netanyahu's office said the USA comment was "received with astonishment" and that Israel had asked the White House for an explanation.

Trump would be breaking with strong tradition if he does not attend the shrine and lay a wreath for Holocaust victims but neither the White House, the State Department or the Israeli Embassy in London were unable to confirm with IBTimes UK that he will be paying his respects.

The Presidential Suite in the King David Hotel, Jerusalem, is now being fitted with bulletproof glass, according to the Jerusalem Post.

He is being accompanied by a delegation comprising Palestinian Deputy Prime Minister Ziad Abu Amr, Foreign Minister Riad Malki, Diplomatic Advisor Majdi Khaldi, Presidency Spokesperson Nabil Aburdeineh and Palestine's Chief Judge Mahmoud Habbash.

The Palestinians, Zomlot said, were convinced of Trump's desire to "make peace" but acknowledged his approach remained unclear.

President Trump faces pressure from one of his largest donors to deliver on his promise to move the United States embassy in Israel from Tel Aviv to Jerusalem, even as he seeks to broker what he regards as the ultimate deal: peace between Israel and Palestine.

The White House official did not say whether Netanyahu will be able to join Trump when he visits the Western Wall on his trip.

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"What we are trying to is to implement the two-state solution (based) on the border of June 1967 - that is to establish a sovereign, independent state of Palestine with East Jerusalem as its capital living in security and peace side by side with the state of Israel", he said.

"Moving the American embassy to Jerusalem would not harm the peace process".

While Trump has not taken any action on his pledge to move the embassy so far, the Palestinian leadership fiercely opposes any such effort, and the global community has warned that it could spark unrest. He said Israel must oppose attempts to establish a Palestinian state and insist on Israeli sovereignty over Jerusalem "forever".

Trump drew global criticism in February when, during a news conference with Netanyahu, he appeared to back away from a US commitment to Palestinian statehood, saying he would leave it up to the parties to decide.

Since 2015, Palestinian attackers have killed 42 Israelis, two visiting Americans and a British student, mainly in stabbing assaults. Trump has said he wants Kushner to lead the peace process.

Israel's Channel 2 TV says the Americans rebuffed a request from Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu to join Trump and told him the site is part of the West Bank and not Israeli territory.

Other reports by MaliBehiribAe

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