President Donald Trump’s decision to have the U.S. recognize Jerusalem as the capital of Israel and eventually move the American Embassy there has drawn criticism and sharp condemnation from around the world — and from within his own administration.
The Pope, many world leaders and the UN all raised concerns with how the move could jeopardize peace in the region, particularly between Israel and Palestine — Palestine also claims the city, which is an important holy city for Jews, Muslims and Christians.
Now, several of Trump’s top advisors are saying that Trump did not fully understand the full impact of his decision.
Instead, they told the Washington Post, Trump was more focused on coming across as “pro-Israel” and wanted to be seen “making a deal.”
“The decision wasn’t driven by the peace process,” one senior Trump official said. “The decision was driven by his campaign promise.”
While Vice President Mike Pence, son-in-law Jared Kushner and UN Ambassador Nikki Haley were in favor, while Secretary of State Rex Tillerson and Defense Secretary James Mattis were opposed, reports indicate.
Trump reportedly notified several allies in the Arab world, including Palestinian Authority President Mahmoud Abbas’ staff and the King of Jordan, King Abdullah II — one of the U.S.’s strongest allies in the region — but did not listen to their objections and reasoning for why the move’s optics threatened a peaceful two-state solution for Israel and Palestine.
“It was a one-sided conversation, with the president saying, ‘This is what we are going to do,’ ” another official briefed on the call said.