Trump mulling steps to recognize Jerusalem as Israel's capital


Every six months since then, four consecutive presidents - Democratic and Republican (including Trump himself) - have signed such waivers. Trump and his last three predecessors have each delayed an embassy move in part to facilitate peace talks with the Palestinians who oppose it.

Alarmed by reports that the Trump Administration is considering immediate action to move the US Israel embassy from Tel Aviv to Jerusalem, Americans for Peace Now is calling on President Trump to eschew this risky action.

Recognizing Jerusalem as "undivided" would likely dash Palestinian hopes of establishing in East Jerusalem the capital of their hoped-for future state, and could upend the White House's current attempts to revive the stalled peace process.

At Monday's White House meeting, Defense Secretary James Mattis and Secretary of State Rex Tillerson made the case that moving the embassy in Israel would pose a grave danger to American diplomats and troops stationed in the Middle East and Muslim nations, the USA officials said.

On Thursday, two officials told the Associated Press Trump was considering declaring Jerusalem Israel's capital city following a Monday meeting with Secretary of State Rex Tillerson and Defense Secretary James Mattis - in which it was made clear by the politicians that an embassy move could threaten the safety of American diplomats in the region. Another possibility involves Vice President Mike Pence, who is set to travel to Israel in mid-December, making the Jerusalem announcement during his trip, one official said.

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The State Department, which risks losing massive amounts of funding if the waiver is not signed and the embassy is not moved, said that a decision has not yet been made on the matter. But as president, he has faced equally forceful lobbying from close USA allies such as King Abdullah II of Jordan, who have impressed on him the dangers in abandoning America's carefully balanced position on the holy city.

However, if Trump decides to declare Jerusalem as Israel's capital, even without ordering an embassy move, it would be certain to spark an global uproar. A number of other presidents similarly campaigned on a promise to move the embassy but reneged in office.

The holy city is considered by both Palestinians and Israelis to be their capital city. The officials said that Trump is likely to issue a new waiver but that he may change his mind.

The Trump White House has developed a plan to declare Jerusalem as Israel's "undivided" capital and has began notifying its missions overseas to lay the ground for its announcement, the Wall Street Journal reported on Thursday.

The U.S. also faces legal constraints.