US presidential candidate will keep embassy in Jerusalem
US 2020 Democratic presidential candidate Pete Buttigieg said on Sunday he would not reverse President Donald Trump's decision to move his country’s embassy in Israel from Tel Aviv to Jerusalem.
"I don't know that we'd gain much by moving it to Tel Aviv," the South Bend, Indiana, Mayor told Axio's Mike Allen in an interview on HBO.
"Look, we need a big-picture strategy on the Middle East," he added.
When asked whether his statement implies that Trump – whom he accused of causing a "destabilising chain reaction" in the Middle East – did the right thing, Buttigieg answered in the negative.
"I didn't say that," he shot back, insinuating that the move could be used as a bargaining chip to push Israel into compliance with peace in the region.
“If you're going to make a concession like that, if you're going to give somebody something that they've wanted for a long time in the context of a push-pull, even with a strong ally like Israel, right? We have a push-pull relationship. And you don't do that without getting some kind of concession,” said the Democratic presidential hopeful Buttigieg.
Most of the world's countries base their embassies to Israel in Tel Aviv.
In a controversial move, Trump recognised Jerusalem as Israel's capital in 2017 and moved the US embassy to the city, prompting other countries to follow suite, including Guatemala.
Trump’s decision was hailed by Israel, but the developments angered the Palestinians, who seek east Jerusalem as capital of their future state.
The Palestinians, and most of the international community, say the city's final status should be resolved in negotiations.
Israel took over mainly Palestinian east Jerusalem in the 1967 Six-Day War and later annexed it in a move never recognised by the international community.
It now considers the entire city its capital, citing the Jewish historical and biblical connection there.
The Palestinians see east Jerusalem, which includes the Old City, as the capital of their future state.