TEL AVIV – President Donald Trump reportedly became “agitated and exasperated” at the lack of action on his campaign promise to move the U.S. embassy to Jerusalem, with sources telling the Washington Post that the White House may compromise by formally declaring Jerusalem to be Israel’s capital.
According to the report, a meeting was convened between senior national security aides with the expected outcome that Trump would once again sign the biannual waiver postponing the embassy move.
The Washington Post reported:
Over a discussion that lasted nearly an hour, Trump, who stayed longer than expected, became agitated and exasperated at what he saw as overly cautious bureaucratic hand-wringing, two people familiar with the discussion said. Focused on his campaign promise to make the move, Trump seemed frustrated with pushback about the potential backlash among Palestinians and their supporters, the people said.
The report also said that the State Department has warned its embassies in the Middle East that they can expect unrest following an announcement by the president regarding the Tel Aviv embassy later this week.
Last week, ahead of a trip to Israel, Vice President Mike Pence said Trump “is actively considering when and how to move the American embassy in Israel from Tel Aviv to Jerusalem.”
According to veteran Middle East peace negotiator Aaron David Miller, Trump would use an embassy move to prove himself as the most pro-Israel American president.
“I would think he wants maximum publicity on this,” Miller told the Times of Israel. “For him, this is a big deal: This is showing that, ‘I’m not Obama, I’m the most pro-Israeli president in modern history. And it’s another first. I was the first president to visit Israel so early in my term. I was the first president to pray at the Western Wall. … This would be the ultimate first.”
Palestinian Authority President Mahmoud Abbas over the weekend called on at least eight Arab and world leaders to help prevent an embassy transfer, warning that such a move “would lead to the destruction of the peace process and would bring the region into an uncontrollable situation,” according to his spokesperson Nabil Abu Rudeineh.
According to Israeli media reports, a PA delegation also met with Trump’s senior advisor Jared Kushner to pass on the message that an embassy relocation would spell the end of the peace process.
Meanwhile, Gaza-based terror group Hamas has warned that any recognition of Jerusalem as Israel’s capital will be deemed a “flagrant aggression” against the city and “a barefaced violation of international law” that would be met with an “escalation of violence.”
“We warn against such a move and call on the Palestinian people to revive the intifada if these unjust decisions on Jerusalem are adopted,” Hamas said in a statement.