On Jerusalem, as on Much Else, It's Trump vs. 'Deep State'

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Secretary of State Rex Tillerson hinted Sunday that Israel may not want the U.S. Embassy to move to Jerusalem if that could harm peace process prospects, but Israeli Prime Minister Binyamin Netanyahu quickly rejected any such suggestion.

In a statement Sunday, Netanyahu said moving the embassy would "not only not harm the peace process, rather the opposite", according to The Washington Post.

"Israel's position has been stated many times before to the American administration and the world", Netanyahu's office said in a statement. Palestinians also claim Jerusalem as the capital of a future Palestinian state and past peace proposals have proposed splitting the city between East and West Jerusalem, or creating an internationally governed city.

Israel occupied east Jerusalem in 1967 and later annexed it in a move never recognised by the global community. The consulate is located in eastern Jerusalem and has always been regarded as more sympathetic to the Palestinians.

Mr Abbas quickly reasserted the goal of a Palestinian state as vital to any rejuvenated peace process, reiterating that it must have its capital in Jerusalem with borders based on pre-1967 lines.

It was not the first time a member of the Trump administration referred to "Palestine", which the US does not recognize.

Since Trump's inauguration on January 20, there's been a lack of clarity and conflicting reports on whether the right-wing firebrand is going to make good on the promise and his Middle East peace policy has been in flux. No serving United States president has ever visited the Western Wall, because U.S. policy has been that the final status of Jerusalem has yet to be resolved in Israeli-Palestinian negotiations.

Palestinians argue moving the embassy would prejudge one of the most sensitive issues in the conflict, undermining America's status as an effective mediator.

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Israeli Prime Minister's Office on Monday released a record of a previous meeting between Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu and U.S. President Donald Trump, in a bid to reinforce Netanyahu's call for Trump to move the U.S. embassy to Jerusalem.

"This is Prime Minister Netanyahu's consistent and clear stance", his office clarified.

At this stage, he will work out of the US Embassy in Tel Aviv and will live in the ambassador's residence in Herzliya.

The Western Wall is revered as the holiest site where Jews can pray.

The former bankruptcy lawyer has expressed scepticism over the two-state solution to the Israeli-Palestinian conflict, the basis of years of U.S. peace efforts.

Trump will embark on his first worldwide trip since taking office on Friday and begin with visits to Saudi Arabia, Israel and the West Bank and Italy.

Jewish-American Friedman, a strong supporter of Israeli settlement building in the West Bank, entered the residence with a marching band playing. He has also accepted an invitation to visit Palestinian Authority (PA) President Mahmoud Abbas in Ramallah.

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