US Secretary of State Rex Tillerson and Defense Secretary James Mattis are both said to oppose US President Donald Trump’s approach towards Jerusalem al-Quds.
Multiple news outlets reported Wednesday that the two warned Trump over his statement about recognition of Jerusalem al-Quds as the Israeli capital and relocation of the American embassy to the Israel-occupied city.
“Secretary of State Rex Tillerson and Defense Secretary Jim Mattis opposed the move from Tel Aviv,” Reuters said in its report, citing US officials, who spoke on condition of anonymity.
Meanwhile, US Vice President Mike Pence and David Friedman, the pro-Israeli US ambassador, “pushed hard for both recognition and embassy relocation.”
Trump, however, intends to stick to his campaign pledge to immediately move the embassy from Tel Aviv, which led to an announcement earlier in the day.
Trump reportedly leaned towards the more pro-Israel figures in his administration in order to make that pledge.
“In making his decision, Trump overruled more cautious counsel from Secretary of State Rex Tillerson and Defense Secretary James Mattis, who expressed concern about endangering US diplomats and troops in Muslim countries,” the Associated Press said in its report, citing officials speaking on condition of anonymity.
In his statement, the Republican president admitted that “there will of course be disagreement and dissent regarding this announcement,” yet arguing that “we are confident that ultimately, as we work through these disagreements, we will arrive at a place of greater understanding and cooperation.”
He added that he intends “to do everything in my power to help forge” a peace agreement.
Recognizing Jerusalem al-Quds as the Israeli capital could spark further tensions in the region as Palestinian and the Muslim population consider the city as Palestine’s capital.