President Donald Trump's decision to recognize Jerusalem as the capital of Israel was "ill-advised" and has probably "significantly" set back the peace process, former Defense Secretary Robert Gates told CNBC on Tuesday.
"I think it was ill advised," Gates said. "I'm not quite sure if there's a strategy behind it or whether it's the fulfilment of a campaign promise that was made."
Gates was Pentagon chief in the second Bush and Obama administrations and is a former CIA director.
Gates said he had hoped some progress was being made in the dialogue between the U.S., Israel and Palestinians but that Trump's move had likely damaged the peace process.
"I had the sense that people were starting to think that maybe something actually would be possible in terms of moving forward on (the peace process) something that multiple presidents have failed to achieve."
"But unfortunately I think this decision probably significantly sets back that effort in major ways," he said.