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Israeli leader gives surprising time scale for U.S. Embassy move

President Trump (L) and Israel's Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu shake hands after delivering a speech at the Israel Museum in Jerusalem on May 23, 2017.

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JERUSALEM -- Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu says he's certain that the U.S. Embassy will be moved to Jerusalem in the coming year, much sooner than Trump administration officials have estimated.

Netanyahu told Israeli reporters traveling with him in India on Wednesday his "solid assessment" is that the American Embassy "will be moved far faster than what we think... in the course of the year."

President Donald Trump upended decades of American foreign policy, infuriating many when he announced late last year the United States recognizes Jerusalem as the capital of Israel and would move its embassy there.

American officials have said it's unlikely any Jerusalem embassy will open before the end of Mr. Trump's first term.

The decision has prompted Palestinian President Mahmoud Abbas to declare the Trump administration unfit to broker negotiations with the Israelis.

Protests, some turning violent, broke out in several nations in reaction to Mr. Trump's decision. 

U.S. Secretary of State Rex Tillerson stood completely alone in the wake of the announcement, getting an earful from many American allies at a NATO summit in Brussels shortly afterward. 

So far, not a single country -- other than Israel, of course -- has thrown its support behind the declaration. Even Tillerson's own State Department has conceded the announcement could sow unrest throughout the Middle East. 

The risk of unrest has been compounded this week with the announcement on Tuesday that the U.S. will withhold more than half of the aid money designated for the United Nations agency specifically tasked with supporting Palestinian refugees.