U.S. president Donald Trump said in an interview Sunday that a “very big decision” is coming soon on moving the U.S. Embassy from Tel Aviv to Jerusalem.
“I’m looking at it…We are studying it very, very long and hard. You know it’s a very big decision, because every president for the last number of presidents … they’ve come in and they were going to do it and then all of a sudden they decide they don’t want to get involved. It’s a big, big decision, but we’re studying the issue right now,” Trump told CBN’s David Brody in a 25-minute interview posted on the station’s website on Sunday.
“I’ve always liked the concept of doing it, I will tell you that,” Trump continued. “I will have a decision in the not-too-distant future. … We are doing very detailed studies on that, and we’ll come out very soon. I hate to do that because that’s not usually me — studies — usually I do what’s right. But this has two sides to it; it’s not easy, and I will make a decision over the not-too-distant future.”
During the campaign, Trump pledged that he would move the embassy if he won the presidency. But unlike his predecessors – many of whom made similar promises only to renege on them while in office – Trump’s administration seems to be more serious about doing so.
The White House staff has, however, put a damper on things since the inauguration.
Last week, White House Press Secretary Sean Spicer answered a reporter’s question on the issue saying it was “very early in this process, and [Trump’s] team is going to continue to consult with stakeholders as we get there.”
On Sunday, during a weekly cabinet meeting in Jerusalem, Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu told ministers, “Our relations [with the US] are tight and getting tighter, and I would like to take this opportunity to make it unequivocally clear that our position has always been, and will always be, that the US Embassy needs to be here, in Jerusalem.”
“Jerusalem is the capital of Israel and it is proper that not only should the American embassy be here, but all embassies should come here, and I believe that over time most of them will indeed come here, to Jerusalem,” the prime minister continued.
The Palestinians have threatened to resort to violence if the embassy is moved.
Two weeks ago, the Israeli security establishment presented Netanyahu and other cabinet ministers with scenarios for a deterioration in the security situation if the Palestinians make good on their threat.
One of the assessments, however, was that the move, if undertaken, will not rouse the Palestinian street and the reaction will take place mainly on the diplomatic and declarative levels.