Trump mulls calling Jerusalem Israel's capital

JACK GUEZ

It was unclear what Mr. Trump will decide on the waiver question, but officials said one option would be to recognize Jerusalem as the capital and announce plans for the embassy move, but postpone the actual relocation for several years.

However, if Trump decides to declare Jerusalem as Israel's capital, even without ordering an embassy move, it would be certain to spark an worldwide uproar. Jerusalem should indeed be recognized as Israel's capital, but only in the context of a peace agreement between Israel and the Palestinians.

When Israeli media reported this week that steps to relocate the embassy were imminent, White House press secretary Sarah Sanders called the reports "premature" but wouldn't rule anything out.

Recognizing Jerusalem as "undivided" would likely dash Palestinian hopes of establishing in East Jerusalem the capital of their hoped-for future state, and could upend the White House's current attempts to revive the stalled peace process.

Vice President Mike Pence suggested this week in a speech honoring the 70th anniversary of United Nations recognition of Israel that the administration is simply down to sorting out logistics.

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President Donald Trump is likely to waive a requirement that the United States move its embassy in Israel to Jerusalem, but is weighing other options to make clear his intent to do so eventually, a senior administration official said on Thursday.

The disclosures about the potential move come as President Donald Trump faces an early December deadline under U.S. law to move the U.S. Embassy to Jerusalem or sign a presidential waiver to keep it in Tel Aviv. A new facility would require new money from Congress.

People look on and use their mobile phones as scouts march and play music in celebration of Mawlid al-Nabi in front of the Dome of the Rock on the compound known to Muslims as Noble Sanctuary and to Jews as Temple Mount, in Jerusalem's Old City on Thursday. Unilateral American recognition of Jerusalem as Israel's capital, before Israeli Jerusalem has been defined in bilateral negotiations, would pre-judge the outcome of peace talks.

The State Department recently advised American diplomatic posts in predominantly Muslim nations that an announcement about the embassy and Jerusalem's status is possible next week, and advised them to be vigilant about possible protests, officials said. Officials said the plans weren't final, however, and the US was working through additional legal and policy considerations. Recognizing Jerusalem as Israel's capital without a peace deal could run afoul of U.N. Security Council resolutions that don't recognize Israeli sovereignty over the city.

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