French FM: Trump moving US embassy to Jerusalem a provocation

Marcy Oster

(JTA) — France’s Foreign Minister said a proposal by President-elect Donald Trump to move the U.S. embassy to Jerusalem will have “extremely serious consequences.”

Jean-Marc Ayrault made the comments during the Paris peace conference on Sunday.

Ayrault called the proposed move a “provocation.”

“I think he would not be able to do it,” Ayrault told France 3 television, Reuters reported. “It would have extremely serious consequences and it’s not the first time that it’s on the agenda of a US president, but none have let themselves make that decision.”

He added: “When you are president of the United States, you cannot take such a stubborn and such a unilateral view on this issue. You have to try to create the conditions for peace.”

Trump’s choice for secretary of defense said at confirmation hearings before the U.S. Senate on Thursday that Tel Aviv is Israel’s capital, although Trump has said he intends to move the U.S. Embassy to Jerusalem.

“The capital of Israel that I go to, sir, is Tel Aviv, sir, because that’s where all their government people are,” James Mattis, a retired four-star general, told the senators in response to questions about policy on Israel.

David Friedman, said in the announcement of his nomination that he hoped to work from a Jerusalem embassy. The transition team has said it does not yet have a timeline of when the move will take place.

Congress recognized Jerusalem as Israel’s capital in 1995 and mandated the move to Jerusalem, but successive U.S. presidents have exercised a waiver in the law that allows them to delay the move for national security reasons. U.S. security and diplomatic officials say that moving the embassy would stir anti-American violence in the Middle East and elsewhere.