Veep: Trump May Actually Move Israeli Embassy At Last

"Israel is committed to working with President Trump to advance peace with the Palestinians and with all our neighbors", Netanyahu told the annual convention of American Israel Public Affairs Committee, or AIPAC. Despite Trump's image as an outsider and unconventional politician, the most conventional part of his administration's nascent foreign policy may be a return to the traditional bipartisan view of the Middle East, with the U.S. -Israel relationship as the dominant, stabilizing force and with U.S. support for stable (or semi-stable) non-radical Muslim states.

In recent years, AIPAC's policy conferences have centered on hot-button issues such as the Iran nuclear deal, tension between the Obama administration and Israel, Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu's controversial speech to Congress, and the surprising rise of candidate, and now president, Donald Trump.

Last month, Washington blocked the appointment of Salam Fayyad - the Palestinian Authority's prime minister from 2007 to 2013 - to lead the United Nations political mission in Libya.

Netanyahu did not mention the Iran nuclear deal negotiated by the Obama administration and five other world powers over his government's fierce opposition.

The relocation is strongly opposed by many USA allies as the Palestinians also claim the city as their capital.

Haley spoke out against the Obama administration's decision to allow a resolution critical of Israel's settlement policy to pass in the Security Council last December, stating that what happened was "not only embarrassing, it was hurtful" and describing the move as America's "weakest point ever".

The statement by Vice President Pence comes just a day after Iran introduced sanctions against 15 U.S. companies for their alleged backing of Israel and for what the Iranian Foreign Ministry branded as "brutal atrocities" committed against Palestinians. "And together, we will confront those enemies who threaten our people and all that we hold dear", he added.

There is skepticism in the United States and Middle East over the chances for restarting Israeli-Palestinian diplomacy.

"David, I look forward to welcoming you warmly to Israel and especially to Jerusalem", he said, speaking by videolink to pass a message to the ambassador and his supporters.

A visit by Israeli officials last week ended with a public statement saying Israel would take Trump's concerns "into consideration" and pledges by both countries to keep talking. Global law views the West Bank and east Jerusalem as "occupied territories" and considers all Jewish settlement-building activity on the land as illegal.

Such a move could seriously impair peace efforts, with Palestinians viewing East Jerusalem as the capital of their state under a two-state solution.

  • Larry Hoffman