The White House insisted Thursday that Middle Eastern outrage over President Donald Trump’s decision to move the U.S. embassy in Israel to Jerusalem was part of a ‘cooling off period’ that it expected.
Peace is still within the administration’s grasp, a White House official told DailyMail.com, and a plan will be presented in 2018 as previously planned.
The official swatted down reports that suggested otherwise, including one claiming that Trump’s son-in-law was behind the stunning announcement.
‘It was him,’ a so-called confidant of Jared Kushner’s told Politico.
An official swatted down reports that suggested otherwise, including one that had a so-called confidant of Jared Kushner’s claiming President Trump’s son-in-law was behind the stunning announcement yesterday that the U.S. is moving its embassy to Israel
Trump’s dramatic break with decades of U.S. foreign policy had opponents of his administration up in arms and world leaders reeling. It also had tongues wagging in the press about the impetus for the stunning announcement that he was official recognizing Jerusalem as the capital of Israel.
The unnamed person that Politico says is close to Kushner gave Trump’s Jewish son-in-law all the credit.
‘Encouraging would be an understatement,’ the person said in the profile that noted Kushner’s otherwise waning influence in the White House.
Kushner has seen his political capital dwindle since John Kelly, a retired general, took the helm as chief of staff at 1600 Penn. Oval Office walk-in privileges for almost every senior official were suspended, but Kushner has also had other problems that have made his presence at the White House somewhat toxic.
He and Donald Trump Jr. have become persons of interest in the special counsel investigation of election meddling following the disclosure of their June 2016 Trump Tower meeting with Russian nationals.
A peace deal between Israel and Palestine would help Kushner a former real estate developer like his father in law, remake his image.
A peace deal between Israel and Palestine would help Kushner(back, center) a former real estate developer like his father in law, remake his image
Secretary of State Rex Tillerson is said to have opposed the embassy move. He was noticeably absent on Wednesday when Trump convened his Cabinet and was out of the country at the time of Trump’s speech.
A former State Department official told DailyMail.com that Tillerson’s exclusion from the event meant nothing – he was at previously scheduled NATO meetings in Brussels.
Still, it was observed by a White House official that the missing Tillerson had ‘pushed back vocally’ on Trump’s decision, according to the Washington Post.
The Post reported that Secretary of Defense James Mattis was also against the policy change that angered American allies and could have negative consequences for the U.S. in the region.
Speaking about Kushner’s role in the decision, the person who spoke to Politico said, ‘If he’s right, he will be a hero of heroes. He end-ran Tillerson again.
The source added, ‘If he’s wrong, he’s doomed.’
A White House official told DailyMail.com that none of the source’s claims were true.
‘The peace team was aware of and supportive of the decision but this was a well-run and through inter-agency process,’ the senior aide to the president said.
Lawyer Alan Dershowitz told The Washington Post that it was Trump who was adamant about the formal recognition of Jerusalem.
Trump told him he planned to move the U.S. embassy from Tel Aviv to Jerusalem in March, Dershowitz said.
‘What he said to me was, “I’m going to do it. Every other president has promised, and all of them didn’t keep their promises,” ‘ Dershowitz stated. ‘He said there would be criticism of him but that he wanted to keep his promise.’
That was generally the sense of the White House as Trump took heat for the decision – that Trump was proving that when he says he’s going to do something he’ll do it.
‘The president could not have been more clear in his speech that he is as committed to peace as ever,’ the White House official said.
Every president since Bill Clinton has signed and re-signed a six-month waiver postponing the embassy’s relocation. Trump also approved the waiver first time the deadline came around.
He said Wednesday that he’d keep signing it until the embassy in Jerusalem is up and running, which U.S. officials say will be at least three years, taking him to the end of his first term and potentially the end of his presidency.
President Donald J Trump (L) and White House senior adviser Jared Kushner meet with Israel Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu (R) at the King David Hotel on May 22, 2017 in Jerusalem
Trump said as a candidate that he would finally move the embassy in keeping with the intent of the intended policy shift that U.S. presidents keep ignoring.
He said Wednesday in an address from the White House’s diplomatic room, ‘Presidents issued these waivers under the belief that delaying the recognition of Jerusalem would advance the cause of peace. Some say they lacked courage, but they made their best judgments based on facts as they understood them at the time.
‘Nevertheless, the record is in. After more than two decades of waivers, we are no closer to a lasting peace agreement between Israel and the Palestinians,’ he said. ‘It would be folly to assume that repeating the exact same formula would now produce a different or better result. ‘
The president’s announcement was met with protests in the West Bank and the beginning of ‘three days of rage’ among Palestinians.
The chief of the Hamas government in Gaza, Ismail Haniyeh, encouraged a new uprising against Israel on Wednesday and pledged that ‘Trump and the occupation’ would ‘regret this decision.’
The peace process set into motion by the president that’s led by Kushner and special envoy to the region Jason Greenblatt was doomed by Trump’s critics in the wake of the announcement.
The pair were on track to put forward an accord sometime next year.
‘From the peace perspective we understand that parties are going to react the way they feel they need to react and that might lead to a bit of a cooling off period,’ a senior official told DailyMail.com ‘But we are going to continue to work on our plan and present it when the time is right.’
Worry abroad that the U.S. is declaring all of Jerusalem the property of Israel with the policy announcement are misguided, the official with knowledge of the situation said.
‘Nothing in his speech prejudged final status negotiations,’ the source said. ‘We recognize while there might be some short term pain we think in the long run this will help the process.’