French President Emmanuel Macron strongly warned President Trump on Monday not to formally recognize Jerusalem as Israel’s capital, the Elysée Palace said in a summary of the phone call between the two leaders — or maybe he didn’t, if you go by the administration’s version of the same conversation. The synopsis released by the White House, called a “readout,” made no mention of the apparent disagreement. Instead, it said only that the two leaders had “discussed the path to peace in the Middle East.”
“The conversation confirmed the close relationship between the United States and France as allies committed to stability in the Middle East and North Africa,” the U.S. readout said blandly.
Macron’s version, on the other hand, went into considerable detail.
“The French president expressed his concern over the possibility that the United States would unilaterally recognize Jerusalem as the capital of Israel,” Macron’s office said.
Macron “reaffirmed that the question of Jerusalem’s status must be dealt with in the framework of peace negotiations between the Israelis and the Palestinians, with the aim in particular to establish two countries, Israel and Palestine, living side by side in peace and security with Jerusalem as [their] capital.”
Israel considers Jerusalem its capital, but the United States, like virtually every other country, stations its ambassador in Tel Aviv. During the campaign last year, Trump promised he would move the embassy to Jerusalem — a long-standing goal of Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu and his American allies — but he has postponed taking action. Facing a deadline to inform Congress of its decision, administration officials told Yahoo News last week that Trump was on track to put off the move, while formally recognizing Jerusalem as Israel’s capital. Not long after the French side released its readout, the White House let it be known that it would not be announcing its plans on Monday, as had been expected.
A 1995 U.S. law requires the United States to move its embassy to Jerusalem but gives presidents the power to delay it in six-month increments.
“The president has been clear on this issue from the get-go that it’s not a matter of if, but a matter of when the embassy will move from Tel Aviv to Jerusalem,” Trump spokesman Hogan Gidley told reporters aboard Air Force One. “No action will be taken, though, on the waiver today,” he said, and the White House will announce…