Trump not to relocate U.S. embassy in Israel visit

Remigio Civitarese
Mag 19, 2017

The sensitivity about Jerusalem, claimed by both Israelis and Palestinians, stems from the role the city plays in the age-old debate about who has a legitimate historical claim to disputed territory.

US President Donald Trump (R) and Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu shake hands following a joint press conference in the East Room of the White House in Washington, DC, February 15, 2017.

The decision comes as top officials at the State Department, Pentagon and in the intelligence community warned Trump against the bold move, explaining that it could hurt chances of restarting peace talks between Israel and Palestinians.

An official says several dozen hunger-striking Palestinians have been transferred in recent days to special wings of Israeli prisons for additional medical supervision.

Since the law to relocate the embassy was passed in 1995, U.S. Presidents Bill Clinton, George W. Bush and Barack Obama have delayed the move because of ongoing tensions, as well as efforts to reach a peace agreement between Israel and the Palestinian Authority. According to BuzzFeed News, the Israeli officials say "their worst fears" have been confirmed.

"We're very appreciative that there will be a visit to the Kotel (Western Wall)", Mariaschin said.

The Israeli leader, whose far-right coalition partners oppose the creation of a Palestinian state, has told his ministers he is waiting to hear more from Trump before making any proposals of his own.

These comments led to vociferous protests by the Israelis, with the discussion descending into shouting, and the Israelis reminding the U.S. team that the Western Wall and adjacent area "is territory holy to Israel".

Trump promised during his presidential campaign to recognize Jerusalem as Israel's capital and move the embassy to Jerusalem from Tel Aviv and his decision to at least delay any such move represents a setback for his conservative supporters who hoped Trump would make good on his pledge. It is widely assumed that Israel would retain control over the site under a potential peace deal.

One leading Trump administration official appeared to distance herself from McMaster on the Jerusalem issue.

An arms deal is to be announced during Trump's trip in which Saudi Arabia will purchase $100 billion in USA arms, the official said. Israel claims all of Jerusalem as its capital, a position not recognized internationally.

Israel considers Jerusalem to be its eternal capital and wants all foreign countries to place their embassies there.

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