WASHINGTON: US President Donald Trump said on Saturday he will not go ahead with his controversial pledge to move the American embassy to Jerusalem until after pushing for an Israeli-Palestinian peace deal.

“I wanna give that a shot before I even think about moving the embassy to Jerusalem,” Trump said on former governor Mike Huckabee’s TV show, referring to efforts to forge a peace between the two sides that has eluded career diplomats for decades.

“We’re gonna make a decision in the not too distant future,” Trump said, but for now, the peace push comes first.

That push is one of the various portfolios Trump gave his son-in-law Jared Kushner, a 36-year-old with no prior government experience who became one of the most powerful men in Washington by virtue of his family connection to the president.

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.

Israel occupied east Jerusalem and the West Bank in 1967 and 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.

Published in Dawn, October 9th, 2017

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