Mike Pence restates Trump's 'serious' intention to move US embassy in Israel to Jerusalem

Trump plans to push Congress to move the US embassy from Tel Aviv to JerusalemREUTERS/Nir Elias

US President Donald Trump is still seriously considering moving the US embassy in Israel to Jerusalem, his Vice President Mike Pence has told a powerful pro-Israel lobby.

During his campaign to reach the White House, Trump spoke repeatedly about his desire to move the US' embassy from its location in Tel Aviv to Jerusalem in a show of support for the Israeli state.

Since taking office Trump has spoken less about the move which has proved increasingly contentious against the backdrop of the fraught Middle East peace process.

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However, according to Reuters, Pence told the influential US lobbying group AIPAC it was still being considered. "After decades of simply talking about it, the president of the United States is giving serious consideration to moving the American embassy from Tel Aviv to Jerusalem," Pence said in a speech.

Israel has long sought to have all countries to move their embassies to Jerusalem. However, Palestinians also count the city as their capital and it has become one of the most hotly contested topics of negotiation in the ongoing peace process.

Critics of Trump's position have said moving the diplomatic mission to Jerusalem would indicate the US' support for Israeli Jerusalem and block the path to a solution to the Israeli/Palestinian crisis.

The final status of Jerusalem is a point meant to be negotiated by Israel and Palestine.

On Thursday (23 March) the US senate confirmed David Friedman, a bankruptcy lawyer allied with the Israeli right, as the country's ambassador in Tel Aviv. Friedman, who was only confirmed by a razor-thin majority supports the plan to move the embassy to Jerusalem.

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