Under Trump, daylight re-emerges in US-Israel relationship


The US president vowed during his election campaign to move the US embassy in Israel to Jerusalem, a move that would anger Palestinians and the wider Arab and Muslim worlds.

U.S. State Secretary Rex Tillerson suggested on Sunday that moving the U.S. embassy from Tel Aviv might not impact the Trump's peace-making efforts.

"Moving the American embassy to Jerusalem would not harm the peace process", the prime minister said.

Today (Monday), Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu's Office published his conversations with US President Donald Trump and other senior-level US administration officials to prove that his position in the past did not change.

The Western Wall, the holiest site where Jews can pray, is located in east Jerusalem, which was occupied by Israel in 1967 and later annexed in a move never recognised by the worldwide community.

While Trump has not taken any action on his pledge to move the embassy so far, the Palestinian leadership fiercely opposes any such effort, and the global community has warned that it could spark unrest.

According to the report, top U.S. officials close to the president warned that the recognition of Jerusalem as Israel's capital could have broad regional risks, echoing recommendations from leaders in the region, including Jordan's King Abdullah who warned Trump that an embassy move would have a negative impact on the peace process.

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The comments also come only one week before Trump is expected to make his first official visit to Israel, on his first overseas trip since becoming president.

Trump will arrive in Israel on May 22, when he will visit the Western Wall and meet with President Reuven Rivlin and Netanyahu. "Israel has reached out to the United States on this matter". Trump has said he wants Kushner to lead the peace process.

As the Times of Israel notes, the visit "would likely be interpreted by some as akin to an American recognition of Israeli sovereignty over East Jerusalem".

There were no further details about the security arrangements but the source added that the Palestinian security apparatus would oversee parts of president's visit as had been the case with previous trips by US leaders to the the West Bank. Current US policy is that East Jerusalem's status should be determined by Israeli-Palestinian negotiations.

Netanyahu's office released quotes from summaries of the prime minister's meetings with Trump to back up its side.

The new USA ambassador to Israel, David Friedman, departed from diplomatic protocol by visiting the Western Wall on Monday.

Among the main bones of contention are Netanyahu insisting that the Palestinians recognise Israel as the nation state of the Jewish people and the Palestinians calling for a halt to Israeli settlement building in the West Bank. He has also accepted an invitation to visit Palestinian Authority (PA) President Mahmoud Abbas in Ramallah.