TEL AVIV – Jewish-American casino mogul and top Republican donor Sheldon Adelson is said to be “furious” at Secretary of State Rex Tillerson for his comments on NBC’s Meet the Press saying that the possibility of relocating the U.S. embassy from Tel Aviv to Jerusalem hinges on whether or not it would harm prospects for peace.
Adelson told Trump in the past that the Palestinians are not viable partners for peace and their demands are impossible for Israel to meet, sources told the Axios news site in a report published Monday.
He added that Trump will base his decision on the interests of all sides, but also consider “whether Israel views it as helpful to a peace initiative or perhaps a distraction.”
Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu responded to Tillerson’s remarks by saying that an embassy move will actually aid peace efforts since it will “shatter Palestinian fantasies” that Jerusalem will become the capital of a future Palestinian state.
“Israel’s position has often been expressed to the American administration and to the world,” a statement from the Israeli Prime Minister’s Office said.
“The transfer of the American embassy to Jerusalem not only will not harm the peace process, but the opposite. It will advance it by correcting a historic injustice and by smashing the Palestinian fantasy that Jerusalem is not the capital of Israel.”
According to a report in Politico last month, Adelson hasn’t contributed to pro-Trump groups since the inauguration – to which he donated $5 million – partly because the president has yet to follow through on his campaign promise to move the embassy to Jerusalem.
Trump’s visit to Israel next week will coincide with Jerusalem Day, marking the 50th anniversary of the reunification of Jerusalem in the 1967 Six Day War.