Jordan's Abdullah Tells U.S. House of Israeli Security Officials' Concern Over Embassy Move

King Abdullah, on an official visit to the U.S., met with Vice President Pence and is expected to meet with President Trump.

Secretary of Defense James Mattis (R) greets King Abdullah of Jordan (L) at the Pentagon in Arlington, Virginia, January 30, 2017.
ALEX WONG/AFP

Jordan's King Abdullah told the U.S. House of Representatives Foreign Affairs Committee on Tuesday that senior security and intelligence officials in Israel are concerned the relocation of the American Embassy from Tel Aviv to Jerusalem would cause a violent escalation, Buzzfeed reported.

A member of the committee told the website that Abdullah noted that Israeli security officials are also concerned such a move, which was announced as imminent by U.S. President Donald Trump, would drive new members to Islamic State.

Before Trump took office, Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu and senior ministers were briefed on what scenarios could arise if Trump announces the relocation of the embassy.

The Israeli army and police discussed their preparations for scenarios of limited violence or even a conflagration across the West Bank and East Jerusalem. One official noted that since the issue revolves around Jerusalem, the Palestinians believed that the matter has religious overtones, further increasing its sensitivity.

Jordan's king arrived in Washington earlier this week. His office said that Abdullah intends to stress the need to avoid steps that could harm Jerusalem's historical and legal status in his expected meeting with Trump. The king also wants to emphasize the need to move forward in the Israeli-Palestinian peace process, as that will contribute to stability in the region. 

On Monday, Abdullah met with Vice President Mike Pence. The White House said that the two discussed the king's positions regarding the embassy move and the peace process.