By Michael Wilner, JPost—
US President Donald Trump will announce that Jerusalem is the capital of Israel, several US media organizations reported on Friday.
The reports note that Trump will not accompany the announcement with a final decision to relocate the US embassy there from Tel Aviv. They do not detail whether Trump will explain whether Jerusalem is Israel’s capital in part or in whole— one of the thorniest issues in the Israeli-Palestinian conflict long left to the parties to negotiate in a final status settlement.
It would be an unprecedented move which Palestinian Authority officials are already warning would kill the burgeoning peace process in the womb. The Trump administration plans on rolling out a detailed proposal for peace in the coming months.
Jared Kushner, the president’s son-in-law and senior adviser leading the administration’s peace effort, will speak on their plans at a Brookings Institution forum over the weekend.
US media separately reported on Friday that Kushner may be embroiled in the indictment and ultimately plea agreement of Michael Flynn in special counsel Robert Mueller’s probe into Russian interference in the US election. The reports claim that Flynn lied to the FBI about contacts with Russia’s ambassador to the US over a UN Security Council resolution on Israeli settlement activity in the West Bank last December, on which he was allegedly in communication with Kushner.
The Israeli government asked Trump’s team to intervene as that resolution was making its way toward a vote, and as the Obama administration was signaling it would allow its passage. It was before Trump’s inauguration, and thus Kushner and Flynn were still private citizens.