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Trump Will Not Announce Immediate Embassy Move to Jerusalem

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18 May 2017 (All day)
Trump Will Not Announce Immediate Embassy Move to Jerusalem
A senior Trump Administration official told Reuters on Wednesday that the President of the United States will not be announcing a move of the US Embassy from Tel Aviv to Jerusalem during his upcoming visit, although that step is still part of his long-term agenda. White House envoy Jason Greenblatt is in Israel ahead of the upcoming Presidential visit to begin talks to lay the groundwork for a planned re-launching of long-running negotiations between Israel and the Palestinian Authority.

“The president has clarified that, to start with, he wants to see the parties sitting together and talking without preconditions, with the hope that this will lead to peace,” US Ambassador David Friedman said in an interview with Israel Hayom, adding that the US has “no demands for a settlement freeze and Abu Mazen [Palestinian Authority President Mahmoud Abbas] wants to meet [Prime Minister Benjamin] Netanyahu without any preconditions.”

In related news, it emerged late Wednesday that Trump spoke on the phone with Netanyahu and Jordanian King Abdullah II on Tuesday as part of preparations for the visit, although a stop in Jordan is not part of his itinerary.

Meanwhile, Netanyahu got a strong message from activists within his own Likud Party on Wednesday in the form of a warning not to attempt to make any concessions to the Palestinian Authority in the course of the negotiations that Trump plans to try and re-start during his term.

“Following 50 years since the liberation of Judea and Samaria and our eternal capital, Jerusalem, the Likud central committee calls upon the Likud’s elected officials to act to enable unlimited construction and apply Israeli law and sovereignty upon all the settled communities in Judea and Samaria,” a Likud Party Central Committee statement declared.

“We see ourselves as free to build in Judea and Samaria, and we expect construction to increase massively after Trump’s visit,” Tourism Minister Yariv Levin said.

In related news, the row over allegations that Trump inappropriately shared classified information provided by Israel with Russian officials during a meeting at the White House took another twist Wednesday when a group of former Israeli officials gave a very different narrative than the current government about the severity of the problems caused by the alleged breach. Reports also emerged on Thursday that Jordanian intelligence was the more likely source of the allegedly shared information.

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