Trump to announce decision Wednesday on U.S. embassy in Israel: White House
U.S. President Donald Trump will declare Wednesday whether to move the U.S. embassy in Israel from Tel Aviv to Jerusalem, White House spokesperson Sarah Sanders said on Tuesday.
A view of Jerusalem's old city is seen Tuesday, December 5, 2017. U.S. officials have said that President Trump may recognize Jerusalem as Israel's capital this week. Trump's point-man on the Middle East, son-in-law Jared Kushner, later says the president hasn't decided yet what steps to take. [Photo: AP/Oded Balilty]
Earlier in the day, Trump informed in a telephone call Palestinian President Mahmoud Abbas of his intention to move the U.S. embassy from Tel Aviv to Jerusalem.
Abbas warned of the dangerous impact such a decision may have on the peace process, security and stability in the region and the world, Presidential Spokesman Nabil Abu Rdineh said in a statement.
He added that Abbas will continue his contact with world leaders to prevent such an unacceptable action.
Trump would deliver a speech on Wednesday about his Jerusalem decision, Sanders told a press briefing on Tuesday. "The president I would say is pretty solid in his thinking at this point," she said, without giving more details.
The White House said later via email that Trump had spoken separately on Tuesday with Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu, Palestinian President Mahmoud Abbas, Jordan King Abdullah II, Egyptian President Abdel Fattah Al Sisi, and Saudi Arabian King Salman Bin Abdulaziz Al Saud about "potential decisions regarding Jerusalem."
The decision, widely seen as an explicit gesture to formally recognize the city as the Israeli capital, sparked opposition from the Arab world amid growing worries that it may fuel unrest in the Middle East.
Also on Tuesday, EU foreign policy chief Federica Mogherini warned that the status of Jerusalem should be resolved through negotiations.
Speaking to reporters after a meeting with visiting U.S. Secretary of State Rex Tillerson, Mogherini reiterated the EU's stance that the bloc supports "the resumption of a meaningful peace process towards a two-state," warning that "any action that would undermine these efforts must absolutely be avoided."
"A way must be found through negotiations to resolve the status of Jerusalem as the future capital of both states so that the aspiration of both parties can be fulfilled," said Mogherini.
During his presidential campaign, Trump had pledged to move the U.S. embassy from Tel Aviv to Jerusalem.
Although the U.S. Congress passed the Jerusalem Embassy Act of 1995 which required the relocation of the U.S. embassy in Israel from Tel Aviv to Jerusalem, former U.S. presidents, including George W. Bush, Bill Clinton and Barack Obama, consistently renewed a presidential waiver to delay the relocation out of consideration for national security interests.
The status of Jerusalem remains one of the core issues in the Israeli-Palestinian conflict. So far, the international community does not recognize Jerusalem as the capital of Israel and no foreign countries base their embassies in the city.
Since U.S. media reported last week that Trump could announce a decision to recognize Jerusalem as Israel's capital, Arab leaders have warned that unilateral U.S. move on Jerusalem could destroy efforts to broker peace in the Middle East.