Israel

Updated at 3:21 p.m. ET

As President Trump announced his decision to recognize Jerusalem as the capital of Israel, other countries wasted little time in condemning the move on Wednesday. Citing fears that it will inflame tensions and undermine the peace process with Palestinians, who also claim the city as their capital, many in the international community also warned the White House against its stated intention of eventually relocating the U.S. Embassy from Tel Aviv to the hotly disputed city.

Updated at 6:10 a.m. ET

President Trump has delayed signing a waiver to a U.S. law that would otherwise set in motion a move of the U.S. embassy in Israel from Tel Aviv to Jerusalem, a White House spokesman says.

"We will share a decision on the waiver in coming days," White House deputy press secretary Hogan Gidley told reporters on Monday aboard Air Force One as it returned the president from a visit to Utah.

Hours later, in a fiery speech, Turkey's President Recep Tayyip Erdogan called any such move by Washington a "red line" for Muslims.

Updated at 12:50 p.m. ET

The Trump administration has announced that the U.S. will withdraw from UNESCO, the United Nations' chief cultural and educational agency. In a statement released Thursday, the State Department said the move won't take effect for more than a year, noting the withdrawal will be as of Dec. 31, 2018.

President Trump is not the only world leader facing criticism for a delayed condemnation of Saturday's white nationalist march in Charlottesville, Va.

For three days, Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu — an outspoken critic of anti-Semitism around the world — said nothing about the anti-Jewish chants and Nazi swastikas paraded in Charlottesville.

After much anticipation, President Trump has decided to postpone his campaign promise to move the U.S. Embassy in Israel from Tel Aviv to Jerusalem. He signed a waiver Thursday to keep the embassy in Tel Aviv for the time being.

The belief is that Trump is looking to restart peace talks and doesn't want to anger his Arab and Muslim allies by taking sides on the thorny question of Jerusalem's political status.

Updated at 2:15 p.m. ET

President Trump has landed in Israel for the second leg of his nine-day trip abroad, which started in Saudi Arabia and will end in Italy.

Trump's flight to Israel was more notable than most Air Force One landings: His trip from Riyadh, Saudi Arabia, to Tel Aviv, Israel, is believed to be the first direct flight between the two countries, which do not have diplomatic relations.

One Israeli Airports Authority spokesman told The Associated Press that he didn't know of any previous direct flights from Saudi Arabia.

Donald Trump's first overseas trip as president begins Friday with a pilgrimage of sorts. With stops in Saudi Arabia, Israel and the Vatican, Trump will be visiting the centers of Islam, Judaism and Christianity, the three major monotheistic religions.

But he's wading into deep waters with potential for missteps and disagreement. He'll meet with Muslim leaders despite declaring that "Islam hates us" during the campaign; he'll meet with Pope Francis, who advocates for countries to be welcoming to refugees.

President Trump emphasized his commitment to end the long-standing Israeli-Palestinian conflict, saying there's a "very good chance" for a peace deal and vowing to do "whatever is necessary to facilitate the agreement."

Trump's remarks came in a joint statement following a meeting with Palestinian Authority President Mahmoud Abbas at the White House on Wednesday.

"We'll start a process which hopefully will lead to peace," Trump said, standing alongside the Palestinian leader.

Jason Greenblatt, who went from being President Trump's longtime lawyer to leading his effort to bring a lasting peace to Israel, met with Palestinian Authority President Mahmoud Abbas in the West Bank on Tuesday, one day after Greenblatt met with Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu for talks that touched on Israeli settlement construction.

The State Department calls this an "orientation trip" that's meant to hear from the two sides about returning to peace negotiations.

From Jerusalem, NPR's Daniel Estrin reports for our Newscast unit:

President-elect Donald Trump has used Twitter — his preferred means of communication — to weigh in on a swath of foreign policy issues over the past few weeks.

With his tenure as secretary of state rapidly pulling to a close, John Kerry made an impassioned defense for a two-state solution in the Israeli-Palestinian conflict on Wednesday.

Kerry said he is concerned that some Israeli politicians are rejecting it.

"If the choice is one state, Israel can either be Jewish or democratic; it cannot be both, and it won't ever really be at peace," said Kerry.

In remarks at the start of his weekly cabinet meeting Sunday, Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu expressed "anger and frustration" over the U.N. Security Council resolution condemning Israeli settlements in the West Bank.

President-elect Donald Trump announced Thursday he will nominate bankruptcy attorney David Friedman as U.S. ambassador to Israel. Friedman, who has no prior diplomatic experience, is an outspoken supporter of Jewish settlement on the Israeli-occupied West Bank and has questioned the need for a Palestinian state.