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President Donald Trump is considering recognizing Jerusalem as the capital of Israel, though it’s not yet clear whether he would act on his campaign promise to move the U.S. Embassy there.
Former Israeli Prime Minister Ehud Barak told PBS NewsHour anchor Judy Woodruff on Thursday that moving the embassy to the holy city from its current location in Tel Aviv is “proper” and something that “we as Israelis want to see.”
“We as Israelis want to see not just the American Embassy but all embassies in our capital Jerusalem. And we would love to hear the president announce that’s what he’s going to do,” Barak said. “But for some reason, American presidents in the last 30 years always announce good relations with Israel but never made the step. Let’s wait and see.”
President Trump pledged during his campaign to relocate the embassy, but in June signed a waiver under the Jerusalem Embassy Act of 1995 delaying the move for six months. Changing the embassy’s location is considered a controversial action that would destabilize the region, since both Israelis and Palestinians claim Jerusalem as their capital. Every president since the law’s enactment has signed the waiver in order to “protect the national security interests of the United States.” Officials around him have said he is still committed to the move, but is wary of how it will affect a peace agreement between Israelis and Palestinians.
President Trump is expected to announce his decision on Monday.
“We know that it’s the capital of Israel, and it’s always good to hear from other nations and especially from America which is the leading power on Earth,” Barak said. “But the real test is ultimately action, and we wait for the right time and we hope that the embassy will move to Jerusalem. I think it’s proper.”
Watch Judy Woodruff’s full interview with Ehud Barak on Thursday’s PBS NewsHour.
Larisa Epatko produced multimedia web features and broadcast reports with a focus on foreign affairs for the PBS NewsHour. She has reported in places such as Jordan, Pakistan, Iraq, Haiti, Sudan, Western Sahara, Guantanamo Bay, China, Vietnam, South Korea, Turkey, Germany and Ireland.
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