Netanyahu 'disappointed' over Trump embassy decision

Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu attends the weekly cabinet meeting in Jerusalem on Feb 28, 2016.
Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu attends the weekly cabinet meeting in Jerusalem on Feb 28, 2016.PHOTO: REUTERS

JERUSALEM (AFP) - Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu said Thursday (June 1) Israel was "disappointed" over President Donald Trump's decision not to move the US embassy to Jerusalem for now.

"Maintaining embassies outside the capital drives peace further away by helping keep alive the Palestinian fantasy that the Jewish people and the Jewish state have no connection to Jerusalem," a statement from his office said.

"Though Israel is disappointed that the embassy will not move at this time, we appreciate today's expression of President Trump's friendship to Israel and his commitment to moving the embassy in the future."

Foreign countries currently have their embassies in the Israeli commercial capital Tel Aviv since they do not recognise Israel's unilateral claim of control over all of Jerusalem.

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Israel occupied east Jerusalem and the West Bank in 1967. It later annexed east Jerusalem in a move never recognised by the international community.

It claims all of Jerusalem as its united capital, while the Palestinians see the eastern sector as the capital of their future state.

 

The issue is among the most contentious in the Israeli-Palestinian conflict.

The United States's traditional position is that the status of Jerusalem must be negotiated between the two sides.

Trump however pledged to move the embassy to Jerusalem during his campaign and recognise the city as Israel's capital. Support for Israel is a key issue in US right-wing politics.