President Donald Trump is giving “serious consideration” to moving the U.S. Embassy from Tel Aviv to Jerusalem, Vice President Mike Pence said Tuesday, a day before a scheduled White House visit by Palestinian President Mahmoud Abbas. Trump is also “personally committed” to becoming the U.S. president who finally ends the long-running Israeli-Palestinian conflict, Pence said.Moving the U.S. Embassy to Jerusalem is a politically charged act that would anger Palestinians who want east Jerusalem as a future capital and part of their sovereign territory. Such a move would also distance the U.S. from most of the international community, including its closest allies in Western Europe and the Arab world. The White House said on Monday that Trump will continue to talk to Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu about settlement activity in Judea and Samaria. The announcement was made following reports that Israel plans to build 15,000 new homes in east Jerusalem. “I’m sure that we’ll continue to have conversations with the prime minister and that’ll be something that the president will continue to discuss”, White House spokesman Sean Spicer told a news briefing after being asked if Netanyahu was snubbing the U.S. president.
U.S. Vice President Mike Pence and Iraqi Prime Minister Haider al-Abadi met on the sidelines of the Munich Security Conference on Saturday hours after Pence said the U.S. would stand firm with Europe and NATO. In a phone call with U.S. Secretary of State Rex Tillerson on Friday, Abadi referred to the “importance of continued international cooperation against terrorism”; 6000 American service members are currently stationed in Iraq. The counter-ISIS efforts have now reached their “last stages” Abadi added in the call, saying that the courage and sacrifice of Iraqis has inflicted a huge loss on the militant group.