Trump signals Jerusalem will be home to U.S. Embassy in Israel

President Donald Trump began alerting foreign officials on Tuesday that he plans to move the U.S. Embassy in Israel from Tel Aviv to Jerusalem, triggering outrage throughout much of the Middle East and threatening the administration’s efforts to strike a peace deal in the region.

The president made a round of phone calls to Palestinian President Mahmoud Abbas, Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu and Jordanian King Abdullah in which he outlined his intentions, according to readouts of the calls from foreign officials.

Trump administration officials have warned the White House that the decision could result in violence in the region.

“Widespread calls for demonstrations beginning Dec. 6 in Jerusalem & the West Bank. US gov’t employees & family restricted from personal travel in Jerusalem’s Old City & in the West Bank,” The State Department’s Bureau of Consular Affairs wrote on Twitter. “US citizens should avoid crowds and areas with increased police and/or military presence.”

Though Congress passed a law in 1995 mandating that the U.S. Embassy be relocated from Tel Aviv to Jerusalem, presidents have for years been signing waivers delaying the move. Trump signed a similar waiver in June amid concerns that shifting the embassy could spark political unrest and threaten peace negotiations.

But White House aides said the president is determined to eventually move the embassy, noting that he had promised to do so during the presidential campaign.

Trump is expected to make a formal announcement on Wednesday, though the president has been known to change his mind at the last minute. The exact language he uses in the announcement remains unclear and will be closely watched by Israeli and Arab leaders.

Trump administration officials have said they don’t expect an immediate shift of the embassy from Tel Aviv to Jerusalem, and the president could sign a waiver delaying the move for at least six more months.

The issue has sparked fierce internal debate, with Trump’s advisers warning that the move could threaten prospects for a peace deal.

Abbas warned Trump of the “grave consequences” of moving the embassy, reiterating his stance that such a decision would result in “detrimental consequences on the peace process and the prospects for the internationally endorsed two-state solution.” The Palestinians want Jerusalem’s eastern sector as a future capital.

During a call with Jordan’s king, Trump “indicated his desire” to move the embassy, according to a statement from the Jordanian government.

“The King affirmed that the decision will have serious implications that will undermine efforts to resume the peace process and will provoke Muslims and Christians alike,” the statement said.

Saudi Arabia’s Ministry of Foreign Affairs also expressed “deep concerns” about the possible move in a statement.

A White House spokesman did not immediately respond to a request for comment.

Source: POLITICO – TOP Stories