President Trump has admitted that his controversial relocation of the US embassy to Jerusalem was to please his evangelicals supporters.
In remarks made during a campaign rally in Oshkosh, Wisconsin on Monday, the president joked that the evangelicals were more excited about the move than the Jewish community.
"We moved the capital of Israel to Jerusalem. That’s for the evangelicals,” Trump declared. “You know it’s amazing ... the evangelicals are more excited about that than Jewish people. That’s really right, it’s incredible."
The 2017 embassy move was part of the Trump administration's decision to officially recognise Jerusalem as the capital of Israel - a symbolic gesture that came as welcome news to certain Christians, particularly those who believe in the significance of Jerusalem and its prospective role in the End Times. Critics, however, insisted that the controversial move would only serve to inflame Arab-Israeli tensions and frustrate the development of a multilateral peace process.
“Israel is a sovereign nation with the right like every other sovereign nation to determine its own capital," Trump said at the time of the relocation. "Acknowledging this as a fact is a necessary condition for achieving peace."
Israeli prime minister Benjamin Netanyahu called the decision as a “historic landmark”, while Palestinian President Mahmoud Abbas said it indicated the US had made a “declaration of withdrawal” from its leading role in the peace process negotiations concerning the hotly disputed region.