Support for Trump on US embassy move to Jerusalem

Greek Orthodox Patriarch of Jerusalem Theophilos III (C) releases a dove as he blesses the water of the Jordan River during the Epiphany celebrations at the Qasr al-Yahud baptismal site near the West Bank city of Jericho on January 18, 2017. (AFP)

Nikki Haley, nominated to be the next US ambassador to the United Nations, told senators Wednesday that she supports Donald Trump’s plan to move the US embassy in Israel to Jerusalem.

The embassy is located in Tel Aviv, and outgoing secretary of state John Kerry believes that moving it to Jerusalem would be “explosive” since both Israel and the Palestinians claim the city as their capital. Haley, the 44 year-old governor of South Carolina and daughter of Indian immigrants, was asked at her senate confirmation hearing if she supported Trump’s campaign trail promise to move the US embassy to Jerusalem.

“Absolutely,” Haley said. “And not only is that what Israel wants, but that is what this Congress has said that is what they support.” Haley was also asked about her priorities if she gets the new job. “You’d have an explosion, an absolute explosion in the region, not just in the West Bank, and perhaps even in Israel itself, but throughout the region,” Kerry told CBS.

Trump had seemed to take into account warnings and was more circumspect when asked about the move in interviews with Britain’s Times and Germany’s Bild over the weekend. “I don’t want to comment on that, again, but we’ll see what happens,” he told the newspapers.

Obama suggests

Meanwhile, President Barack Obama suggested on Wednesday that moving the US embassy to Jerusalem could have “explosive” results and said he was worried that the prospects for a two-state solution to the Israeli-Palestinian conflict were waning.

US President-elect Donald Trump has promised to re-locate the embassy to Jerusalem, breaking with longstanding US policy. Israel and Palestinians both claim Jerusalem as their capital, and such a change would draw international condemnation.

“When sudden unilateral moves are made that speak to some of the core issues and sensitivities of either side, that can be explosive,” Obama said at his last news conference as president. He said his administration had warned the incoming Trump administration that big shifts in policy had consequences. “That’s part of what we’ve tried to indicate to the incoming team in our transition process, is pay attention to this because this is ... volatile stuff,” he said in response to a question about a potential embassy move.

He said his administration did not block a recent UN resolution on Israeli settlement activity because it felt a two-state solution was the only option for peace. “The goal of the resolution was to simply say that the ... growth of the settlements are creating a reality on the ground that increasingly will make a two-state solution impossible,” Obama said.

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Last Update: Wednesday, 20 May 2020 KSA 09:48 - GMT 06:48
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