WASHINGTON: Top diplomatic and military aides to US President Donald Trump were opposed to the president’s decision of moving the US embassy in Tel Avis to Jerusalem due to security reasons, American media reports said, citing officials.
President Trump had recognised Jerusalem as the ‘political capital’ of Israel and had asked the officials to start the process of moving the US embassy to Jerusalem.
The decision has drawn widespread criticism from all over the world, including Pakistan, that does not recognise Jerusalem as Israel’s capital.
Pakistan has time again raised the issue in the United Nations that a viable, independent state of Palestine on the basis of the internationally agreed parameters, for enduring peace in the Middle East.
According to media reports, Secretary of State Rex Tillerson and Defense Secretary James Mattis opposed President Trump’s decision, saying it would endanger American diplomats and troops deployed in the Middle East and other Muslim countries.
The move has already triggered protests in the Middle East and it was expected that more protests will be held against the decision in Muslim majority countries.
US media is seeking clarification from the government over the repercussions of the decisions as the government officials insisted that there were no immediate changes to the status quo.
Bureau of Near Eastern Affairs Acting Assistant Secretary David M Satterfield, at a special briefing, said that the US president has only acknowledged a ‘reality’, but no other changes were made at this point.
“With respect to boundaries of sovereignty, borders, geography, those are matters for final status negotiations between the party, and we’re not going to touch on these at this time,” he said.
At a separate press briefing, State Department spokesperson Heather Nauert said that the government was not taking any position on the overall boundaries.
Tillerson and Mattis reportedly opposed the decision and the notion was reinforced when the defence secretary sought to dodge the question when asked about the decision during a press encounter on his way back from a foreign visit.
Mattis said that he met Trump last week over the issue and had an open discussion. “I gave to the president what I thought. You have to look at the world in different parts and pieces too. So, as you do that, you have to have a lot of information. I collected the information. I made my recommendation, and I’ll just leave it that,” Mattis said while on a plane from Kuwait to Washington.