U.S. President Donald Trump is likely to deliver a speech on Wednesday recognizing Jerusalem as Israel's capital, a senior U.S. official said on Friday, a move that could upend decades of American policy and further inflame tensions in the Middle East.
Sources believe that Trump will attempt to soften the announcement for Palestinians, possibly, as CNN reported Thursday, by specifying only West Jerusalem as the capital of Israel, as opposed to the eastern part of the city, which Palestinians want to claim as their own seat of government. During the US presidential election campaign, however, Donald Trump pledged to move the US embassy to Jerusalem, a promise made but not acted upon by previous presidents and mandated under a 1965 law by Congress. When I wrote a preview of the Trump administration's Mideast policy last December, Aaron David Miller, a former State Department Middle East negotiator who served in multiple Democratic and Republican administrations, told me that moving the embassy "would send a powerful signal that the Israel-Palestinian peace process, at least for the Trump administration, is closed for the season". "President Trump made the decision to now begin to funnel U.S. support not through the United Nations in every program but for the first time through USAID to help rebuild Christian communities and the communities of other religious minorities that have for too long been neglected".
After a lengthy back and forth at the White House meeting, Trump and his inner circle appeared to accept those concerns but insisted that the president had to demonstrate his stated commitment to move the embassy, the officials said. "If you were going to tell me that we're on the verge of a deal and what was needed to seal it was some change in our position on Jerusalem, if you were to tell me that in exchange for doing this, he's extracted certain concessions from [Prime Minister Benjamin] Netanyahu on any number of issues regarding final status, then okay..."
David Brody: "Outline the goals for me especially as it relates to persecuted Christians because this has been, quite frankly near and dear to your heart for a very long time".
Trump's senior adviser and son-in-law Jared Kushner has been tasked with leading the administration's peace efforts.
This move will be a big one.
The officials, who weren't authorized to discuss the matter publicly and spoke on condition of anonymity, said the outlines of Trump's plan emerged from a meeting of his top national security advisers at the White House on Monday.
That may be about to end.
In a statement, the grassroots Palestinian Campaign for the Academic and Cultural Boycott of Israel criticized the Giro organizers.
Trump's approach appears to thread a fine needle, much like he did with the Iran nuclear deal. "I don't know", Makovsky said. "With the large Palestinian population, you could see major protests and destabilization there", Goldberg said. King Abdullah is the custodian of the holy Muslim sites in Jerusalem.
"I do not understand the timing", said a senior diplomat from a US ally.