A senior adviser of President-elect Donald Trump reiterated on Monday that moving the US Embassy from Tel-Aviv to Jerusalem would be a "very big priority" for the incoming administration. Kellyanne Conway's comments received wide coverage in the Israeli media. "He made this very clear during the campaign," she explained, "and as president-elect, I've heard him repeat it several times privately, if not publicly."
Conway also spoke of the popularity of such a move amongst pro-Israel lobbyists. "It is something that our friend Israel, a great friend in the Middle East, would appreciate and something that a lot of Jewish-Americans have expressed their preference for," she claimed. Pointing out the ease with which such a move could be made, Trump's former campaign chief described it as a "great" move.
If the plan goes ahead, it would not only give US legitimacy to Israel's illegal occupation and annexation of East Jerusalem since 1967, but it would also go against decades of US policy, not to mention international law. Israel's annexation of Jerusalem has never been accepted by the international community, for which the acquisition of territory through war is unacceptable.
Maan News Agency reported that in response to Trump's initial comments on the issue, Palestinian ambassador to the United Nations, Riyad Mansour, threatened to "make life miserable" for the US at the UN if the embassy is moved. The ambassador noted that such a move would violate UN General Assembly Resolution 181 regarding the status of Jerusalem, and constitute "belligerency" towards Palestinians.
"If the US administration wants to defy international law it is doing something illegal," said Mansour. "I hope that the Americans will do nothing. Many candidates have given the same election promise but didn't implement it because what you do when you are campaigning is one thing but when you have to deal with the legal thing it is something else."
Both Bill Clinton and George W. Bush made similar promises to move the embassy during their presidential campaigns, but once in office they signed the waiver required to avoid following through with the move.