Meanwhile, Palestinian Foreign Minister Riad al Maliki calls on the Arab League and OIC to convene to discuss the situation in Jerusalem.

White House senior adviser Jared Kushner, speaks with Haim Saban, about the Trump administration's approach to the Middle East region at the Saban Forum in Washington, US, December 3, 2017.
White House senior adviser Jared Kushner, speaks with Haim Saban, about the Trump administration's approach to the Middle East region at the Saban Forum in Washington, US, December 3, 2017. (Reuters)

US President Donald Trump has not yet made a decision on whether to formally recognise Jerusalem as Israel's capital, his adviser and son-in-law Jared Kushner said on Sunday, a move that would break with decades of US policy and could fuel violence in the Middle East.

It came after a senior administration official said on Friday that Trump is likely to announce next week that the United States recognises Jerusalem as Israel’s capital.

"He's still looking at a lot of different facts, and then when he makes his decision, he'll be the one to want to tell you, not me," Kushner said at an annual conference on US policy in the Middle East organised by the Brookings Institution think tank in Washington.

A senior administration official said last week that Trump could make the announcement on Wednesday.

But a spokesperson with the White House National Security Council said “we’ve nothing to announce”.

Kushner is leading Trump's efforts to restart long-stalled Israeli-Palestinian peace talks, efforts that so far have shown little progress.

Past US presidents have insisted that the status of Jerusalem -- home to sites holy to the Jewish, Muslim and Christian religions -- must be decided in negotiations. The Palestinians want Jerusalem as the capital of their future state, and the international community does not recognise Israel's claim on all of the city.

Reactions against US

Word of Trump’s planned announcement drew criticism from the Palestinian Authority and was sure to anger the broader Arab world.

Any move by the United States to recognise Jerusalem as Israel's capital would fuel extremism and violence, Arab League Secretary-General Ahmed Aboul Gheit said on Saturday.

"Today we say very clearly that taking such action is not justified ... It will not serve peace or stability, but will fuel extremism and resort to violence," Gheit said in a statement published on the Arab league's website on Saturday.

"It only benefits one side; the Israeli government that is hostile to peace," he added. 

A senior Jordanian source said on Sunday that Amman, the current president of the Arab summit, has begun consultations on convening an emergency meeting of the Arab League and the Organisation of Islamic Cooperation (OIC) before Trump's expected declaration this week. 

Meanwhile, Palestinian Foreign Minister Riad al Maliki on Sunday called on the Arab League and OIC to convene to discuss the situation in Jerusalem.

Al Maliki warned that such a US move “would have grave consequences” and would “blow up the situation in the Palestinian territories and the region”.

Nabil Abu Rdainah, spokesman for Palestinian President Mahmoud Abbas, said US recognition of Jerusalem as Israel’s capital would “destroy the peace process” and “destabilise the region.”

Such a move, however, could help satisfy the pro-Israel, right-wing base that helped Trump win the presidency and also please the Israeli government, a close US ally.

Source: TRTWorld and agencies