Jewish-American billionaire and casino mogul Sheldon Adelson is reportedly angry at US Secretary of State Rex Tillerson for saying that a previously promised move of the US embassy from Tel Aviv to Jerusalem now depends on whether or not it would harm peace talks between Israel and the Palestinians.
A “furious” Adelson rejected Tillerson’s assertion that the embassy move should be connected to the peace process, sources told the Axios news site in a report published Monday.
One of the biggest backers of Republican candidates, Adelson had previously told Trump that the Palestinians were not partners for peace and that their demands were impossible for Israel to agree to, the report said.
The report gave no other details.
In an interview with NBC that was broadcast on Sunday, Tillerson said US President Donald Trump was deliberating whether the embassy relocation would help or harm peace prospects, prompting Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu to release a statement saying relocation will boost efforts in that it will “shatter Palestinian fantasies” of Jerusalem as the capital of a future Palestinian state.
Last month, the Politico website reported that Adelson has not funded any pro-Trump groups since the inauguration in January because Trump did not follow through on a campaign promise to move the embassy to Jerusalem.
In his election campaign, Trump promised to recognize Jerusalem as Israel’s capital and relocate the American mission there, drawing a fierce rebuke from Palestinian Authority officials and concern from the European Union and others that the move could spark violence.
While other presidential candidates have also promised to move the embassy, in line with a 1995 bill ordering the move, once taking office all have signed waivers postponing the move for security reasons. The current waiver will expire on May 31, when Trump will have to decide whether to extend it or move the mission.
Despite the enthusiasm expressed by Israeli officials over a possible embassy move, Trump has seemed to walk back his pledge to relocate the embassy since his inauguration
Tillerson’s comments came ahead of Trump’s scheduled trip to Israel next week, which will coincide with Israeli celebrations marking the fiftieth anniversary of the capture of the eastern part of the city from Jordan in the 1967 Six Day War.