The White House urged Israelis and Palestinians to “act in a matter conducive to peace” amid violent protests over US President Donald Trump’s decision to recognize Jerusalem as the capital of Israel.
White House spokesman Raj Shah told reporters aboard Air Force One Friday that “the president has called for calm and moderation,” adding that Washington hoped “the voices of tolerance” will prevail over “purveyors of hate.”
Large crowds of worshippers across the Muslim world staged anti-US marches Friday in the largest outpouring of anger yet at Trump’s recognition of bitterly contested Jerusalem as Israel’s capital.
Shah said the president was briefed and “fully aware” of the potential ramifications of his actions.
But Shah added that the White House maintains it was the right thing to do and that Trump is still committed to a Middle East peace deal.
In a Wednesday address from the White House, Trump defied worldwide warnings and insisted that after repeated failures to achieve peace a new approach was long overdue, describing his decision to recognize Jerusalem as the seat of Israel’s government as merely based on reality.
The move was hailed by Israel’s Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu and by leaders across much of the Israeli political spectrum.
Trump stressed that he was not specifying the boundaries of Israeli sovereignty in the city, and called for no change in the status quo at the city’s holy sites.