President Obama said Wednesday that his administration has warned President-elect Donald Trump’s team that big policy shifts come with consequences and suggested that moving the U.S. Embassy to Jerusalem could have “explosive” results.
“When sudden unilateral moves are made that speak to some of the core issues and sensitivities of either side, that can be explosive,” Obama said at his last news conference as commander-in-chief, Reuters reported.
Trump, like some of his predecessors, has vowed to move the American embassy to Jerusalem, a politically charged act that would anger Palestinians who want east Jerusalem as part of their sovereign territory. The move would also distance the U.S. from most of the international community, including its closest allies in Western Europe and the Arab world.
Trump’s next ambassador to Israel, David Friedman, supports Israeli settlements and other changes to U.S. policies in the region.
Friedman said he looked forward to carrying out his duties from “the U.S. embassy in Israel’s eternal capital, Jerusalem,” even though the embassy is in Tel Aviv. Trump advisers have said that the president-elect will follow through on his call for moving the embassy.
“He has made that promise,” Kellyanne Conway told reporters Thursday. “I can guarantee you, just generally, he’s a man who is going to accomplish many things very quickly.”
Obama said that he is worried that the chances of a two-state solution were dimming. He has been critical of the Israeli settlements in the West Bank.