Trump calls Palestinian leader amid Jerusalem speculation: source


Ramallah (Palestinian Territories) (AFP)

US President Donald Trump called Palestinian leader Mahmud Abbas on Tuesday amid speculation the White House was planning to recognise Jerusalem as Israel's capital, a Palestinian official said.

The official, who spoke to AFP on condition of anonymity, did not provide any details of the conversation.

The phone call came with Palestinian leaders warning that US recognition of Jerusalem as Israel's capital would ruin Trump's efforts to reach an Israeli-Palestinian peace deal.

Abbas has been speaking with world leaders over the past several days as part of diplomatic efforts to persuade Trump not to make the move.

Trump on Monday delayed a decision on whether to recognise Jerusalem as the Israeli capital and move the US embassy there.

The White House said Trump would miss a deadline to decide on shifting the embassy from Tel Aviv, after a frantic 48 hours of public warnings from allies and private phone calls between world leaders.

There have been suggestions he will stop short of moving the embassy for now but recognise Jerusalem as Israel's capital -- a move that would upturn years of precedent and run contrary to international consensus.

Nabil Shaath, an adviser to Abbas, told journalists on Tuesday that a decision by Trump to recognise Jerusalem as Israel's capital "totally destroys any chance that he will play a role as an honest broker".

Israel occupied east Jerusalem and the West Bank in the 1967 Six-Day War. It later annexed east Jerusalem in a move never recognised by the international community.

Israel claims the entire city as its undivided capital, while the Palestinians want the eastern sector as the capital of their future state.

The city's status is among the most difficult issues in the conflict. US traditional policy has been that its status must be negotiated between the two parties.