McMaster: Trump hasn't yet decided on embassy move

Trump’s national security advisor says the president has not yet made a decision on whether to move the U.S. embassy in Israel to Jerusalem.

Ben Ariel,

H.R. McMaster
H.R. McMaster

General H.R. McMaster, U.S. President Donald Trump’s national security advisor, said on Sunday that Trump has not yet made a decision on whether to move the U.S. embassy in Israel from Tel Aviv to Jerusalem.

In an interview with “Fox News Sunday”, McMaster also stressed that Trump has not given up on a possible peace agreement in the Middle East.

“No, the president's not giving up on the Mideast peace agreement at all,” he said when asked about reports that Trump is planning to officially recognize Jerusalem as the capital of the State of Israel.

“I think what the president is doing is reflecting what has been, you know, a U.S. law -- you know, a waiver that's been -- that's been done, I think, you know, 46 or 47 times. And he's following through on a pledge he made during his election,” continued McMaster.

“Now, I'm not sure what decision he'll make; we've given him options. There are options involving the move of an embassy at some point in the future, which I think, you know, could be used to gain momentum toward a -- toward a peace agreement, and a solution that works both for Israelis and for Palestinians,” he added.

Trump is to decide by Monday whether he will sign the waiver delaying the move of the U.S. embassy from Tel Aviv to Jerusalem, which every president since 1995 has renewed every six months. It has been speculated that he may prefer to declare American recognition of Jerusalem first and wait before moving the embassy.

Trump’s son-in-law and senior adviser, Jared Kushner, addressed the issue on Sunday, and indicated that Trump has yet to decide whether or not he will renew the security waiver or if he will authorize the relocation of the embassy.

"All reporters have called saying they have inside sources and they know what his position is,” joked Kushner who spoke at the Saban Forum in Washington.

"The president is going to make his decision. He's still looking at a lot of different facts, and when he makes his decision, he'll be the one to want to tell you," he added.

The Palestinian Authority (PA) has criticized the idea that Trump could officially recognize Jerusalem as Israel’s capital.

Mahmoud Al-Habbash, a senior adviser to PA chairman Mahmoud Abbas, on Saturday declared that an American recognition of Jerusalem as Israel’s capital will destroy the peace process.

Saeb Erekat, Executive Secretary of the Palestine Liberation Organization (PLO) warned on Friday that American recognition of Jerusalem as the capital of Israel would be “playing with fire."