WASHINGTON (Reuters) – The White House said on Sunday that it is only in the early stages of talks to fulfill President Donald Trump’s pledge to move the U.S. embassy in Israel from Tel Aviv to Jerusalem, an action that would likely spark anger in the Arab world.
“We are at the very beginning stages of even discussing this subject,” White House spokesman Sean Spicer said in a statement. Aides said no announcement of an embassy move was imminent.
Washington’s embassy is in Tel Aviv, as are most foreign diplomatic posts. Israel calls Jerusalem its eternal capital, but Palestinians also lay claim to the city as part of an eventual Palestinian state. Both sides cite biblical, historical and political claims.
Trump, who vowed during the 2016 presidential campaign to move the embassy, was due to speak by phone on Sunday with Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu, their first call since the U.S. businessman-turned-politician took office on Friday.
Any decision to break with the status quo is likely to prompt protests from U.S. allies in the Middle East such as Saudi Arabia, Jordan and Egypt. Washington relies on those countries for help in fighting the Islamic State militant group, which the new U.S. president has said is a priority. (Click to Article)