(WASHINGTON) — President Trump appears to not have made a decision yet on whether to formally recognize a unified Jerusalem as the capital of Israel and to move the U.S. embassy there, senior adviser and son-in-law Jared Kushner said Sunday during remarks on Middle East peace efforts.
“The president is going to make his decision,” Kushner said at the Saban Forum. “He is still looking into a lot of facts.”
Trump faces a deadline Monday to decide whether to sign another 6-month waiver of a 1995 law that mandates the embassy move, according to the State Department. Trump and his last three predecessors have each delayed an embassy move, in part to facilitate peace talks with the Palestinians, who oppose it.
After Israeli media reported last week that steps to relocate the embassy were imminent, White House press secretary Sarah Sanders called the reports “premature,” but wouldn’t rule anything out.
“We have nothing to announce,” she said.
Action on the Israel embassy issue is intended to show progress on a key Trump campaign promise, but it would also be considered highly provocative by Palestinians, who consider East Jerusalem the capital of a future state, and could trigger protests from America’s Arab allies.
“Last June the president said that it was a question of when the embassy would move, not if,” a U.S. embassy official told ABC News.
Vice President Mike Pence suggested last week in a speech honoring the 70th anniversary of U.N. recognition of Israel that the administration is simply down to sorting out logistics.
“President Donald Trump is actively considering when and how to move the American embassy in Israel from Tel Aviv to Jerusalem,” Pence said.
This morning on “Fox News Sunday,” National Security Adviser H.R. McMaster said he was “not sure” if Trump will move the embassy.
“I’m not sure what decision he will make, we have given him options. There are options involving the move of an embassy at some point in the future, which I think could be used to gain momentum toward a peace agreement. And a solution that works both for Israelis and Palestinians,” McMaster said.
In addition, Kushner said the administration does think peace is achievable, echoing the audio leaked in August of his chat with interns on Capitol Hill, when he said, “there may be no solution.”
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