Official: Trump likely to recognize Jerusalem as Israel's capital Wednesday
Senior Trump administration official said the president will likely make a speech Wednesday officially recognizing Jerusalem as Israel's capital; Trump is also expected to again delay his campaign promise to move US embassy from Tel Aviv to Jerusalem; Erekat: 'American recognition of Jerusalem as capital of Israel is playing with fire.'
President Donald Trump is likely to announce Wednesday that the United States recognizes Jerusalem as Israel's capital, a senior administration official said on Friday, a move that would upend decades of American policy and possibly inflame tensions in the Middle East.
Secretary-General of the PLO Executive Committee and chief negotiator with Israel Saeb Erekat said, "Any American recognition of Jerusalem as the capital of Israel will bring about the end of the Jerusalem issue. This issue is weighty and dealing with it is playing with fire."
Nabil Abu Rdainah, spokesman for Palestinian President Mahmoud Abbas, said US recognition of Jerusalem as Israel's capital would "destroy the peace process" and "destabilize the region."
Trump could make the controversial declaration in a speech on Wednesday though he is also expected to again delay his campaign promise to move the US embassy to Jerusalem from Tel Aviv. The senior official and two other government sources said final decisions had not yet been made.
Visiting Washington this week, Jordan's King Abdullah warned lawmakers that moving the US embassy could be "exploited by terrorists to stoke anger, frustration and desperation," according to the Jordanian state news agency Petra.
Israel, meanwhile, estimated the chances of Trump announcing US recognition of Jerusalem as Israel's capital in the coming days and saying he would commence preparations to move the embassy to Jerusalem were very high.
Vice President Pence's comments on the embassy move
Vice President Mike Pence provided support for the above estimate, speaking at an event commemorating the 70th anniversary of the United Nations' vote calling for the establishment of a Jewish state. Pence said Trump was actively considering "when and how" to move the US embassy from Tel Aviv to Jerusalem.
Israel also received information saying Trump was apprehensive about not signing the traditional six-month waiver overriding a 1995 law requiring that the US embassy be moved from Tel Aviv to Jerusalem. Trump's apprehension, the information alleged, stemmed from internal American political considerations relating to pressures exerted on the president by Republican Party officials and Evangelical Christians.
Official American recognition of Jerusalem as Israel's capital as a gesture for Israel's 70th anniversary may thusly ameliorate the anger Trump would face if any further delay in transferring the embassy took place.