HR McMaster: 'I'm not sure' if Trump will move embassy in Israel

Decision expected Tuesday

WASHINGTON (CNN) - White House national security adviser HR McMaster said Sunday morning that he doesn't know whether President Donald Trump will decide to recognize Jerusalem as the capital of Israel.

"I'm not sure what decision he'll make. We've given him options," McMaster said.

When asked by "Fox News Sunday" host Chris Wallace about Trump's decision-making process, McMaster said the President's advisers have discussed a number of options, and that each of these options will allow the United States to take action concerning Jerusalem in a manner that would "gain momentum toward a peace agreement and solution that works both for Israelis and for Palestinians."

Trump could announce as early as Tuesday that the U.S. recognizes Jerusalem as Israel's capital, U.S. officials with direct knowledge of the matter and foreign diplomats have told CNN. Upon making the decision public, Trump is expected to sign a waiver to keep the U.S. embassy in Tel Aviv for another six months, but say his administration will move the diplomatic mission to Jerusalem at some point --- a goal long sought by Israel.

The State Department's security arm has been told to plan for potentially violent protests at U.S. embassies and consulates once the Trump administration announces it is moving the embassy in Israel to Jerusalem.

"We were told that this is definitely coming, and we need to be ready for it," one official said.

The Diplomatic Security Service, which is charged with protecting U.S. posts and personnel overseas, was already bracing for possible protests after Trump retweeted anti-Muslim videos from the far-right group Britain First on Wednesday.

The announcement by Trump would put the U.S. in singular company among its allies. While Israel claims Jerusalem as its seat of government, no foreign embassies are located there, as the international community sees it as an issue to be settled as part of a broader peace agreement.

Senior Palestinian official Saeb Erekat said if the United States recognizes Jerusalem as the capital of Israel it will be "disqualifying itself to pay any role in any initiative towards achieving a just and lasting peace" between Israelis and Palestinians. Any such move, Erekat said in a statement, "would promote international anarchy and ... contribute to the further destabilization of the region."

The statement added that Palestinian President Mahmoud Abbas had been speaking with several world leaders to encourage them to appeal to Trump not to create "a new political reality."

Erekat also suggested there would be a clear response from the Palestinian leadership to any move by Trump on the status of Jerusalem, saying "the Palestinian leadership is going to meet soon in order to approve necessary steps in case such an announcement is made."

Moving the U.S. embassy in Israel from Tel Aviv to Jerusalem was a staple of Trump's campaign promises, with the then-candidate saying in a March 2016 address to the American Israel Public Affairs Committee, "We will move the American embassy to the eternal capital of the Jewish people, Jerusalem."


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