LOS ANGELES (CBSLA) – Los Angeles Mayor Eric Garcetti Sunday received criticism for his public approval of Jerusalem as the new site of the U.S. Embassy in Israel.

“I support the embassy being here,” Garcetti said in an interview Friday with the L.A. Times from Jerusalem, where he chaired a delegation of American mayors. “Israel shouldn’t be the only country in the world that can’t determine where its capital will be, but there is usually a process to these things rather than what seems like an overnight, one-sided, partisan move.”

Both the Los Angeles office of the Council on American-Islamic Relations and the Los Angeles chapter of the Jewish Voice for Peace decried the comments.

“It is highly disturbing that Mayor Garcetti would declare support for such a reckless decision,” CAIR-LA Executive Director Hussam Ayloush said. “The decision to move the U.S. embassy violated the international status of the Holy City of Jerusalem and was offensive and provocative, not only to the 12 million Palestinian Christians and Muslims, but also to the 1.8 billion Muslims worldwide.”

“Mayor Garcetti’s endorsement of the illegal move to consolidate Israeli annexation of land furthers the endangering of the lives of both Palestinians and Israelis on the ground,” said Estee Chandler of the Jewish Voice for Peace.

“We join CAIR-LA in calling for Mayor Garcetti to reconsider his statements and retract his endorsement,” Chandler added.

In a controversial move back in December of 2017, President Donald Trump announced he was recognizing Jerusalem as Israel’s capital and ordered the relocation of the U.S. Embassy from Tel Aviv to Jerusalem.

In response to the Friday interview, Garcetti issued a statement Sunday saying his goal was not to choose sides, but to support the goal of Jerusalem as a future dual capital of both Israel and a Palestinian state. The statement read:

“The only path to lasting peace, and the only moral course, is to be pro-Palestine and pro-Israel. I recognize Jerusalem as the capital of Israel; and I have always recognized Jerusalem as the capital of the independent, fully sovereign Palestinian state that we all want to emerge from negotiations toward a true two-state solution.

“As I made clear in my comments last week, I disagree strongly with how the Trump Administration made its decision,” Garcetti said. “It was outside the scope of any talks, without balance or coordination.

“But we cannot allow this president’s thoughtless partisanship to divide friends and take our eyes off what is most important, which is moving forward to peace,” he said. “We have to keep pressing for peace and a two-state solution, with Jerusalem as the rightful capital of both nations.”

(© Copyright 2019 CBS Broadcasting Inc. All Rights Reserved. City News Service contributed to this report.)

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