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‘Trump seriously considering moving US embassy to Jerusalem’

IANS | Washington |

US Vice President Mike Pence said President Donald Trump is seriously considering moving the US embassy in Israel to Jerusalem — something controversial that he pledged to do as a candidate.

"The President of the US, as we speak, is giving serious consideration into moving the American embassy in Tel Aviv to Jerusalem," Xinhua news agency quoted Pence as saying here at an Israel Independence Day event on Tuesday.

He said Trump was "personally committed to resolving the Israeli and Palestinian conflict".

However, it remains unclear how such a controversial move sure to anger the Arab world would contribute to the resolution of the Israeli-Palestinian conflict.

Experts have warned that relocating the embassy could inflame tensions in the Middle East and doom the peace negotiations between the Israelis and the Palestinians, the Politico reported.

Previous Presidents such as Bill Clinton, George W. Bush and Barack Obama had also said they would move the embassy to Jerusalem while campaigning but did not follow through on the pledge.

Despite the passage of the Jerusalem Embassy Act of 1995 by the US Congress, which required the relocation of US embassy in Israel from Tel Aviv to Jerusalem, former presidents consistently renewed a presidential waiver to delay the relocation on national security interests.

The latest revelation came on the eve of Palestinian President Mahmoud Abbas's visit to the White House on Wednesday.

So far, the Palestinian side has made no comments on the remarks.

"It would essentially validate the view that all of Jerusalem now belongs to Israel," Aaron David Miller, a former Israeli-Palestinian peace negotiator, told POLITICO.

"It's hard to come up with a single act that would make the Middle East burn more than it is burning right now," he said.

Trump's son-in-law, his senior adviser Jared Kushner, has been tasked with leading White House efforts on Middle East peace.

The status of Jerusalem remains one of the core issues in the Israeli-Palestinian conflict. So far, the international community does not recognise Jerusalem as the capital of Israel and not a single foreign country bases its embassy in the city.