Secretary of State Rex Tillerson said Sunday that the president is being “careful” in assessing his campaign promise to move the U.S. embassy in Israel to Jerusalem. President Trump’s administration has revived the topic in recent weeks ahead of Trump’s visit next week to the Middle East.
“The president, I think rightly, has taken a very deliberative approach to understanding the issue itself, listening to input from all interested parties in the region, and understanding, in the context of a peace initiative, what impact would such a move have,” Tillerson said on NBC’s “Meet The Press” when asked about the possibility of moving the embassy to Jerusalem.
“As you know, the president has recently expressed his view that he wants to put a lot of effort into seeing if we cannot advance a peace initiative between Israel and Palestine,” he continued.
“And so I think in large measure the president is being very careful to understand how such a decision would impact a peace process.”
Tillerson said he thinks the president will make an informed decision on the issue.
“And most certainly Israel’s view on whether Israel views it as being helpful to a peace initiative or perhaps a distraction. And so again, I think the president’s being very measured in how he goes about this. And appropriately so.”
“It would advance it by amending a historic wrong and by shattering the Palestinian fantasy that Jerusalem isn’t the capital of Israel,” he said in a statement.
The United Nations does not recognize Jerusalem as Israel’s capital.
During his presidential campaign, Trump told the American Israel Public Affairs Committee at its conference, “We will move the American embassy to the eternal capital of the Jewish people, Jerusalem.”
Since then, Trump has demurred on the timing of moving the embassy, which is currently located in Tel Aviv.
During an April interview, the president demurred when asked if he might use his trip to Israel in May to announce the change in the embassy’s location.