The Israeli Prime Minister 's Office issued a statement Sunday urging Trump to move the embassy after U.S. Secretary of State Rex Tillerson said the president was "being very measured" about the decision. Instead of moving the embassy to Israel's capital of Jerusalem (almost every overseas American embassy is in the host country's capital), Tillerson floated the potential move as a bargaining chip as part of a peace deal with the Palestinians.
Israeli right-wingers have pressed Trump to stick to his pledge to move the embassy to Jerusalem, but the president has backed away since taking office, saying it was still being looked at. "Moving the embassy will force the other side to cope with the lie they are formulating that Israel has no connection to Jerusalem, and will lead them to understand that Israel will remain forever and that its capital will be Jerusalem".
Palestinians say moving the embassy would be a de facto recognition of Israel's control of all Jerusalem.
This is published unedited from the IANS feed.
"We welcome this new development and we are optimistic about the upcoming visit of the U.S. president to Palestine, where he is expected to visit Bethlehem and meet with President Abbas".
Reported remarks by a Trump administration official rejecting Israel's claim to the Western Wall were "unauthorized" and do not represent the position of President Donald Trump, the White House said.
The drama unfolded when a senior White House official said that the Western Wall was part of the West Bank and not part of Israel's territory, as Channel 2 reported on Monday. Barack Obama placed a note between the Kotel's ancient stones in 2008 during his presidential campaign but did not return after his election.
The following day, Trump will speak at Masada, the Roman-era fortress in the Negev Desert, and meet with Palestinian Authority President Mahmoud Abbas.
Donald Trump seemed to understand this during the campaign, but now he apparently is getting caught up in the "peace process" chimera that has ensnared so many of his predecessors.
David Friedman, the newly minted United States ambassador to Israel who has long argued for recognizing Jerusalem as Israel's capital and was slated to begin living and working in Jerusalem from the start of his tenure, is expected to begin his post this week working out of the USA embassy in Tel Aviv, according to sources familiar with his plans.
Tillerson indicated that an important factor for the administration was "whether Israel views it as being helpful to a peace initiative or perhaps a distraction".
The status of Jerusalem remains one of the core issues in the Israeli-Palestinian conflict.