McMaster: I Don't Know What Trump Will Do Regarding Jerusalem's Status as Capital, Embassy Move

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File photo on January 20, 2017 of the U.S. Embassy building in Tel Aviv, Israel.
File photo on January 20, 2017 of the U.S. Embassy building in Tel Aviv, Israel.Credit: JACK GUEZ/AFP

WASHINGTON - U.S. President Donald Trump's National Security Adviser, General HR McMaster, told Fox News on Sunday that he doesn't know what Trump will decide regarding potentially moving the U.S. Embassy in Israel from Tel Aviv to Jerusalem or recognizing Jerusalem as Israel's capital. McMaster said the president's advisers have presented him with a number of options on this issue, and that it is possible to take action on Jerusalem in a way that would "gain momentum toward a peace agreement and solution that works both for Israelis and for Palestinians."

The U.S. State Department's security wing has been told to brace itself for possible violent protests across the Middle East in response to a potential decision to move the U.S. Embassy to Jerusalem, CNN reported earlier Sunday.

The decision to relocate the U.S. Embassy would be seen as a public recognition of Jerusalem as Israel's capital city, despite Palestinian claims to Jerusalem as its capital.

The potential relocation of the U.S. Embassy has elicited negative responses from Arab leaders including by Palestinian Authority President Mahmoud Abbas. Abbas' spokesman said on Saturday that the decision would destabilize the region, and put an end to peace talks between Israel and the Palestinians. Abbas spoke with Egyptian President Abdel-Fattah al-Sissi, the Emir of Qatar, and Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan over the weekend, in an effort to block Trump from making good on the move, which numbered among his election promises.

Jordan's King Abdullah also warned of the decision's implications, saying that moving the embassy could damage the Israeli-Palestinian peace process and would strengthen terrorist organizations in the Middle East.

Word of Trump's planned announcement, which would deviate from previous U.S. presidents who have insisted the Jerusalem's status must be decided in negotiations, also drew criticism from the Arab League, whose Secretary-General Ahmed Aboul Gheit said on Saturday such a move would fuel extremism and violence. 

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