Trump Has Options on US Embassy Move to Jerusalem, National Security Adviser Says
White House national security adviser H.R. McMaster told Fox News that President Donald Trump has been given a few options on moving the U.S. Embassy in Israel from Tel Aviv to Jerusalem, and that each option would help the United States "gain momentum toward a peace agreement and solution that works both for Israelis and for Palestinians."
"Fox News Sunday" host Chris Wallace asked McMaster about reports that the president is going to declare this week that Jerusalem is the capital of Israel, "although, he's not going to move the embassy." McMaster said he's not sure what decision Trump will make, but added, "We've given him options."
"There are options involving the move of an embassy at some point in the future," he said, explaining that those options "could be used to gain momentum toward a — toward a peace agreement, and a solution that works both for Israelis and for Palestinians."
According to media reports, Trump is likely to announce this week that the U.S. recognizes Jerusalem as Israel's capital, and then sign a waiver to keep the U.S. embassy in Tel Aviv for another six months.
Currently, there are no foreign embassies in Jerusalem. The Palestinians want Jerusalem as the capital of their future state.
A senior Palestinian official, Saeb Erekat, has said if Washington recognizes Jerusalem as the capital of Israel, the United States will be "disqualifying itself to pay any role in any initiative towards achieving a just and lasting peace" between Israelis and Palestinians, according to CNN. Such a move would "promote international anarchy and ... contribute to the further destabilization of the region."
Any move by the United States to recognize Jerusalem as Israel's capital would fuel extremism and violence, Arab League Secretary-General Ahmed Aboul Gheit has said.
The U.S. State Department's security wing has reportedly been asked to prepare for possible violent protests across the Middle East.
However, Trump's adviser and son-in-law Jared Kushner, who is leading the efforts to restart long-stalled Israeli-Palestinian peace talks, said Sunday the president has not yet made a decision on whether to formally recognize Jerusalem as Israel's capital.
"He's still looking at a lot of different facts, and then when he makes his decision, he'll be the one to want to tell you, not me," Kushner said at an annual conference on U.S. policy in the Middle East organized by the Brookings Institution think tank in Washington, according to Reuters.