Tillerson: Trump still considering embassy move to Jerusalem

Trump, before making his final decision on the US embassy move from Tel Aviv to Jerusalem, is weighing the impact it could have on a potential peace process, Tillerson said.

Secretary of State Rex Tillerson told NBC‘s Meet the Press on Sunday that President Donald Trump is proceeding very cautiously with regard to moving the US embassy from Tel Aviv to Jerusalem.

“I think the president’s being very measured in how he goes about this – and appropriately so,” Tillerson said.

In particular, Trump wants to consider the impact such a move could have on a potential peace process between Israel and the Palestinians.

“(Trump) wants to put a lot of effort into seeing if we cannot advance a peace initiative between Israel and Palestine, and so I think in large measure the president is being very careful to understand how such a decision would impact a peace process,” Tillerson explained.

“The president, I think rightly, has taken a very deliberative approach to understanding the issue itself, listening to input from all interested parties in the region and understanding, in the context of a peace initiative, what impact would such a move have.”

Shortly after Tillerson made his comments, Education Minister Naftali Bennett urged Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu to clarify to the Trump administration that a significant portion of Israel’s population continues to expect the embassy move to finally happen.

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“Countries from across the world place their embassies in Washington D.C., thus this needs to be applied in Jerusalem, our capital for 3000 years,” Bennett wrote on Twitter, adding that “moving the US embassy in Israel (to Jerusalem) strengthens Israel and strengthens the prospects for peace.”

Speaking at a Likud party event on Thursday, Netanyahu said that Jerusalem is the “eternal capital of the Israeli people and it is fitting that all embassies, especially that of our friend the United States, be moved to Jerusalem.”

Most recently, as Trump pursues a peace plan between Israel and the Palestinians, Bennett criticized Netanyahu for not having outright rejected the two-state solution.

Netanyahu commented on Tillerson’s remarks, saying that “moving the US embassy to Jerusalem won’t harm the peace process.” To the contrary, it would “advance the process and correct a historic injustice.”

By: Jonathan Benedek, World Israel News

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