Tillerson says Jerusalem step changes 'nothing'

State Department officials on Thursday defended President Donald Trump's recognition of Jerusalem as Israel's capital...

Posted: Dec 8, 2017 12:33 PM
Updated: Dec 8, 2017 12:33 PM

State Department officials on Thursday defended President Donald Trump's recognition of Jerusalem as Israel's capital, saying it reflects the will of the American people and arguing that in practice it changes "nothing."

Their pushback came as major US allies, geopolitical rivals, religious leaders and many analysts warned about the potential for Trump's decision to further destabilize the Middle East and undermine the idea of Washington as a neutral arbiter of peace talks.

In Vienna, TIllerson said moving the embassy to Jerusalem won't happen overnight

In the West Bank, Palestinian protesters clashed with Israeli security forces

In the West Bank, Palestinian protesters clashed with Israeli security forces, injuring at least 49, according to the Palestinian Red Crescent, and the leader of the Palestinian Islamist group Hamas called for a new "intifada," or uprising. Security analysts warned of the possibility of broader protests on Friday, the day Muslims across the region go to their mosques for prayers. Security at US diplomatic missions has been boosted in preparation.

Secretary of State Rex Tillerson, speaking in Austria, insisted that Trump's announcement hasn't really changed anything.

"The reality is, as you wake up today after this announcement, is nothing is different, other than the President has now implemented the 1995 law" that calls on the administration to move the US Embassy to Jerusalem, Tillerson said.

In Washington, acting Assistant Secretary David Satterfield said the consulate in Jerusalem would continue to operate in the same way and that passports for those born in Jerusalem would still be issued in the same way, with only the contested city named, and not a country.

"There has been no change in our policy with respect to consular practice or passport issuance," Satterfield told reporters. He added that the Trump administration is considering what to do about maps of the city.

Maps, borders, sovereignty

"We are, of course, examining that issue, and when we have a decision we will announce it, with respect to how we will treat Jerusalem for official" US government mapping purposes, he said. And while the US now officially recognizes Jerusalem as the capital of Israel, "we are not changing or taking a position on the boundaries of sovereignty in Jerusalem," he said, "including geographic boundaries."

Questions of sovereignty and borders, officials continued to stress, will still be left for final status negotiations. And Tillerson said that while the President had directed him to start working on moving the embassy from Tel Aviv to Jerusalem, the move won't happen anytime soon.

For starters, Trump signed a waiver putting off a move for another six months, a step he took for "logistical" reasons, administration officials said.

"We have to acquire a site, we have to develop building plans, we'll have to construct a building," Tillerson said. "So this is not something that will happen overnight."

Asked by reporters in Vienna whether the Jerusalem announcement compounds a separation between the US and traditional allies, who remain part of the Paris Agreement on climate change and continue to back the Iran nuclear deal, Tillerson said the Jerusalem decision reflected popular opinion.

"The president is simply carrying out the will of the American people," Tillerson said.

Some polling counters Tillerson's claim. A University of Maryland Critical Issues poll released December 1 found that 63% of Americans oppose moving the embassy to Jerusalem, including 44% of Republicans. The pollsters questioned 2,000 people and had a margin of error of 2.19%.

Tillerson said, however, that the administration's decision was simply "an acknowledgment of what is reality on the ground."

"The reality is Israel's government, its courts, its Prime Minister's office, is all in Jerusalem today," he said.

Indiana Coronavirus Cases

Data is updated nightly.

Confirmed Cases: 31715

Reported Deaths: 1984
CountyConfirmedDeaths
Marion9189533
Lake3299167
Cass15826
Allen127766
St. Joseph117034
Hendricks112367
Hamilton109992
Johnson1082104
Elkhart100827
Madison58258
Porter48721
Bartholomew48033
Clark45838
LaPorte40821
Tippecanoe3733
Jackson3611
Howard35618
Delaware35434
Hancock31927
Shelby31421
Floyd31338
Boone28235
Morgan26124
Vanderburgh2482
Montgomery22717
White2268
Decatur22431
Clinton2151
Noble18520
Grant18520
Harrison18521
Dubois1822
Greene16723
Warrick16426
Dearborn16221
Monroe16010
Henry1597
Vigo1477
Lawrence14322
Miami1391
Putnam1337
Jennings1274
Orange12422
Scott1183
Ripley1126
Franklin1068
Carroll922
Kosciusko861
Daviess8216
Steuben792
Newton7410
Wabash722
Wayne695
Fayette654
Marshall641
LaGrange602
Jasper561
Washington521
Fulton471
Rush452
Jay430
Jefferson411
Randolph403
Pulaski390
Clay391
Whitley392
Brown331
Sullivan321
Starke313
Owen311
DeKalb291
Perry270
Huntington262
Benton250
Knox240
Crawford230
Wells230
Tipton221
Blackford201
Switzerland190
Fountain182
Parke170
Posey170
Spencer161
Gibson142
Ohio130
Adams121
Warren121
Vermillion90
Martin90
Union80
Pike60
Unassigned0152

Ohio Coronavirus Cases

Data is updated nightly.

Confirmed Cases: 32477

Reported Deaths: 1987
CountyConfirmedDeaths
Franklin5310237
Cuyahoga3963217
Marion261921
Hamilton2458128
Lucas2126229
Pickaway204335
Mahoning1341169
Summit1236159
Butler80225
Stark68589
Lorain64858
Columbiana60950
Montgomery60515
Trumbull52942
Belmont39012
Miami34830
Warren33619
Tuscarawas3182
Portage31458
Medina30219
Delaware30013
Ashtabula28132
Wood27645
Lake26811
Geauga25729
Wayne25050
Fairfield2403
Clark2236
Licking20710
Allen19131
Mercer1903
Clermont1885
Richland1863
Erie1575
Darke15316
Madison1347
Washington11718
Crawford1043
Morrow1041
Greene935
Ottawa917
Putnam8714
Monroe7111
Sandusky6810
Ross662
Hocking654
Auglaize643
Jefferson622
Huron551
Williams521
Hancock481
Muskingum450
Union450
Clinton430
Hardin410
Shelby412
Logan370
Fayette370
Wyandot362
Fulton360
Defiance322
Guernsey310
Preble301
Carroll282
Lawrence280
Holmes271
Champaign261
Brown251
Coshocton240
Knox231
Vinton191
Seneca192
Ashland180
Highland181
Perry181
Scioto150
Henry150
Athens141
Paulding130
Jackson110
Harrison100
Adams81
Gallia71
Pike60
Meigs60
Morgan50
Noble50
Van Wert50
Unassigned00
Fort Wayne
Clear
79° wxIcon
Hi: 88° Lo: 65°
Feels Like: 81°
Angola
Broken Clouds
84° wxIcon
Hi: 85° Lo: 65°
Feels Like: 87°
Huntington
Scattered Clouds
85° wxIcon
Hi: 87° Lo: 66°
Feels Like: 87°
Decatur
Clear
86° wxIcon
Hi: 86° Lo: 66°
Feels Like: 86°
Van Wert
Clear
86° wxIcon
Hi: 86° Lo: 65°
Feels Like: 86°
Pop-Up Storms Tuesday
WFFT Radar
WFFT Temperatures
WFFT National

Community Events