"He pulled the trigger, Trump pulled the trigger".
But the move left Palestinian officials fuming, with Palestinian Authority President Mahmoud Abbas and his chief negotiator Saeb Erakat blasting the US decision and claiming Trump's move "disqualified" the US from mediating the peace process.
Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu called Trump's recognition of Jerusalem as Israel's capital as "historic", saying that it showed US. commitment to "an ancient but enduring truth".
China has long maintained that Palestinians must be allowed to build an independent state, although it has traditionally played little role in Middle East conflicts or diplomacy, despite its reliance on the region for oil. He described Jerusalem as the "eternal capital" of the Palestinian people, and said that wouldn't change.
"Today, I am delivering", he said.
Jerusalem, which is home to holy sites sacred to Jews, Muslims and Christians, lies at the core of the Israeli-Palestinian dispute.
One fact is clear, of course.
At that point, "Jason and Jared convinced him that they were just at the beginning of building relationships" in the region and that "if we do this now, we won't have any relationships to fall back on", the official said.
That decision reset the clock to the next twice-yearly waiver deadline, which fell this week.
Trump's announcement was widely expected and has sparked strong criticism from the Muslim world.
Many allies warned that Trump's decision would negatively affect the peace process between the Israelis and the Palestinians. Jerusalem includes the holiest ground in Judaism. Nearby, according to Christian belief, are the sites of Jesus' crucifixion, death and resurrection.
At the same time, other Trump advisers were making their case against the move. Secretary of State Rex Tillerson and Secretary of Defense James Mattis recommended against the move.
Jerusalem decision hurts peace process — White House officials
Iranian President Hassan Rouhani slammed the move as "illegal" and would further destabilise the Middle East, holding Israel "responsible for all the insecurity and instability" in the region.
Kushner and Greenblatt declined requests for comment.
While Trump appeared to have made up his mind, he continued to solicit input, two White House officials said, even asking random acquaintances about the Middle East in recent months. Under the Israeli-Palestinian peace accord, the status of Jerusalem should be determined through the final-status talks between Israel and the Palestinians.
Once Trump indicated 10 days ago that he would not sign a second waiver, national security adviser H.R. McMaster began putting together options that officials assessed would result in the least damage.
"His decision wasn't meant to help (the peace team)".
His decision on Jerusalem fulfils a campaign promise and will please Republican conservatives and evangelicals who make up a sizeable portion of his base of support.
Trump also notified Jordanian King Abdullah II, a stalwart ally, in a similar call. Donald Trump is now the 10th U.S. president dealing with the conflict.
Ruth Lieberman, a political consultant, said she has been busy organizing groups to celebrate on social media. White House officials say a key test will come later this month: whether Abbas cancels his planned meeting with Pence.
They repeatedly emphasized what had not changed after the president's announcement, rather than what had.
In a speech in Washington, Trump said he had decided to recognise Jerusalem as Israel's capital and move the U.S. embassy to the city. After being showered with praise by billionaire Ronald Lauder for being more pro-Israel than past presidents, Trump promised that within days he would declare Jerusalem the capital and begin the process of moving the embassy.
Palestinians would get limited sovereignty over a state that covers only noncontiguous parts of the West Bank.
"He cannot expect to side entirely with Israel on the most sensitive and complex issues in the process, and yet expect the Palestinians to see the United States as an honest broker", said former US ambassador to Israel Daniel Kurtzer. "Other presidents have put it off, put it off. We're not going to put it off". "This has gone on long enough".