Outgoing President Barack Obama on Wednesday warned his successor Donald Trump against “sudden, unilateral moves” related to the Israeli-Palestinian Authority (PA) conflict, in what appeared be a reference to Trump’s intention to move the American embassy from Tel Aviv to Jerusalem.
“The President-elect will have his own policy,” Obama told reports as he held a final news conference, two days before leaving office.
“But obviously it’s a volatile environment. What we have seen in the past is when some unilateral moves are made that speak to some of the core issues and sensitivities of either side, that can be explosive,” he warned.
During his election campaign, Trump pledged several times that he would move the U.S. embassy from Tel Aviv to Jerusalem in recognition of Jerusalem being Israel’s capital.
His campaign manager Kellyanne Conway indicated last month that moving the embassy to Jerusalem “is a very big priority” for Trump, while media reports in Israel at the time indicated the transition team for Trump is already looking into possible locations in Jerusalem for the embassy.
The PA opposes the move as it wants eastern Jerusalem to be the capital of its desired Palestinian state. In recent weeks, PA officials have repeatedly warned Trump that moving the embassy would harm the peace process.
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