US/World News

Trump’s defense secretary pick names Tel Aviv as Israel’s capital

( Retired Marine Gen. James Mattis, who is President Donald Trump’s pick for secretary of defense, said in a nomination hearing with the Senate Armed Services Committee that he considers Tel Aviv – not Jerusalem – as Israel’s capital. “The capital of Israel that I go to, sir, is Tel Aviv, sir, because that’s where all their government people are,” Mattis told U.S. Sen. Lindsey Graham (R-S.C.), adding that he would “stick with the U.S. policy” that currently does not recognize Jerusalem as the capital of Israel. Graham then asked Mattis if he would support moving the U.S. Embassy in Israel from Tel Aviv to Jerusalem, a campaign promise made by Trump that has been supported by congressional Republicans. Mattis replied that he would “defer to the nominee for secretary of state” (Rex Tillerson) on that issue. Mattis was also asked if he supports a “two-state solution” to the Israeli-Palestinian conflict. He responded that he does support that plan “if that brings peace to the Middle East.” “If there’s another solution, I’d be happy to hear what it is,” Mattis added.

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