Palestinians: Trump tells Abbas he will move US Embassy to Jerusalem

Palestinians: Trump tells Abbas he will move US Embassy to Jerusalem
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President TrumpDonald TrumpTrump's Facebook ban to stay in place, board rules Trump allies launching nonprofit focused on voter fraud DOJ asks for outside lawyer to review Giuliani evidence MORE reaffirmed his plans to move the U.S. Embassy in Israel to Jerusalem in a phone call with Palestinian President Mahmoud Abbas, a spokesman for Abbas said Tuesday.

“President Mahmoud Abbas received a telephone call from U.S. President Donald Trump in which he notified the President (Abbas) of his intention to move the American embassy from Tel Aviv to Jerusalem,” Nabil Abu Rdainah said in a statement, according to Reuters.

The statement did not make clear when Trump planned on making the move. But the president's reaffirmation of his plans to do so came ahead of an anticipated announcement that the U.S. will recognize Jerusalem as Israel's capital city.


According to a New York Times report, Jordan also said Tuesday that the president told King Abdullah II something similar.

Trump has long vowed to move the U.S. Embassy in Israel from Tel Aviv, the capital recognized by the international community, to Jerusalem, which the Israeli government considers the country's official capital.

He is expected to pass on that move this week, and re-sign a waiver keeping the facility in Tel Aviv. Still, the notion of recognizing Jerusalem as Israel's capital is controversial in itself and will likely complicate U.S. efforts to broker peace talks between the Israelis and Palestinians.

According to the Times, U.S. officials said that the embassy would not be moved to Jerusalem right away because of logistical reasons, such as housing for embassy staff. 

In phone calls with Arab leaders, Trump has said that moving the U.S. Embassy to Jerusalem could actually help move Palestinians and Israelis closer to a peace deal, because it would end the cycle of political uncertainty that occurs every six months when the president must decide whether to sign a waiver keeping the embassy in Tel Aviv or allowing it to move to Jerusalem.

Political leaders in Arab countries have warned in recent days that any decision by the U.S. to acknowledge Jerusalem as Israel's capital would stir backlash and upheaval in the region. 

Jerusalem is home to holy sites for Muslims, Christians and Jews, and Palestinians want the city to be the capital of a future Palestinian state, making it a flashpoint for political disputes.

Under the 1995 Jerusalem Embassy Act, the U.S. Embassy in Israel is supposed to be moved to Jerusalem. But every president since then has waived the requirement every six months in order to keep the embassy in Tel Aviv.