Netanyahu affirms stance on US embassy move ahead of Trump visit
RONEN ZVULUN (POOL/AFP/File)
Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu said Sunday that Israel maintains its position that the US embassy should be relocated from Tel Aviv to Jerusalem.
"Israel's position has often been expressed to the American administration and to the world," a statement from the Israeli Prime Minister's office said.
"The transfer of the American Embassy to Jerusalem not only will not harm the peace process, but the opposite. It will advance it by correcting a historic injustice and by smashing the Palestinian fantasy that Jerusalem is not the capital of Israel."
Netanyahu's remarks come just hours after US Secretary of State Rex Tillerson stated that the White House was still weighing how a potential move of the US Embassy to Jerusalem would affect prospects for an Israeli-Palestinian peace deal.
US Secretary of State Rex Tillerson told NBC's "Meet the Press" on Sunday that "the president is being very careful to understand how such a decision would impact the peace process."
Tillerson added that the decision would be informed by responses from all parties, including "whether Israel views it as helpful to a peace initiative or perhaps a distraction."
The status of Jerusalem is a flashpoint issue in the Israeli-Palestinian conflict.The Palestinians claim East Jerusalem as the capital of their future state, while Israel has declared the entire city as its capital. Most countries have their embassies located in Tel Aviv.
During his presidential campaign, Trump controversially promised to move the embassy and to recognize Jerusalem as Israel's "undivided" capital.
Since Trump's inauguration on January 20, there's been a lack of clarity and conflicting reports on whether the right-wing firebrand is going to make good on the promise.
Trump is expected to arrive in Israel on May 22 as part of his first foreign tour since taking office.
The date coincides with the 50th anniversary of the reunification of Jerusalem following the 1967 Six Day War, which will be commemorated in Israel beginning the evening of May 23 and the day of May 24.
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the law to move it has been in place for many years. we just need someone with enough backbone to carry out. Move The Embassy to Israel's Capital!