By: ELIZABETH MCLAUGHLIN | ABC News | Jan 23, 2017, 2:59 PM ET
Israeli officials are awaiting what could be one of the first announcements from the new Trump administration: a decision to move the U.S. Embassy in Israel from Tel Aviv to Jerusalem.
Such a move, which Trump repeatedly promised on the campaign trail, may please many Israelis but anger Palestinians as well as officials in Arab nations, who could see it as directly provocative and a hindrance to future peace negotiations between Israelis and Palestinians.
Palestinians claim Jerusalem as the capital of their future state, and Trump, like the Israeli government, views Jerusalem as Israel’s “eternal capital.” Since Israel’s creation, the United States has maintained that the status of the holy city of Jerusalem should be settled only in negotiations between the two parties, and Trump appears prepared to dramatically break with tradition.
Trump spoke with Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu on Sunday, but neither leader’s report of their conversation referred to a U.S. Embassy move.
“The president emphasized that peace between Israel and the Palestinians can only be negotiated directly between the two parties and that the United States will work closely with Israel to make progress towards that goal,” the White House said in a statement.
It also said that Trump invited Netanyahu to visit the White House in early February, making him one of the first foreign leaders invited to 1600 Pennsylvania Ave. under the new administration.