Israel, Palestinian Leaders 'Assured Me' They're Ready for 'Peace'

Claudine Rigal
Juin 8, 2017

"I would urge the president to follow through on this campaign promise, like, yesterday".

Palestinians argue that moving the embassy from Tel Aviv would prejudge one of the most sensitive issues in the conflict - that status of Jerusalem - undermining USA status as an effective mediator. The Jewish state has long urged the US and others to build embassies in Jerusalem, to reflect Israel's claim to the holy city as its capital. In doing so, the United States is able to avoid recognizing Jerusalem as the capital of Israel which would damage relationships with Palestinians who have also claimed the city. Trump's renewal of the waiver was met with disappointment from Israeli ministers.

"We know that peace is possible if we put aside the pain and disagreements of the past and commit together to finally resolving this crisis", Trump said during a speech in Jerusalem. "It's a question of when, not if", a USA official said, adding that the president "doesn't think the timing is right, right now".

That language is standard for waivers signed by Trump's precedessors under the Jerusalem Embassy Act of 1995.

On Wednesday, Trump signed a six-month waiver that will maintain the American embassy in Tel Aviv, aides confirmed to The New York Times Thursday. Former U.S. President Barack Obama signed it during the last weeks of his term, and, on Thursday, it would be half a year since he did so.

When told that Trump said he will move the embassy later, Steinitz says: "I hope that happens before the Messiah comes". Both sides stake claims.

During his visit to Israel last month, Trump visited the Western Wall, the Jewish holy site that sits just steps from the Al-Aqsa Mosque, revered in Islam. Instead, it sees East Jerusalem as occupied by Israel.

Israel occupied East Jerusalem and the West Bank in 1967.

The US president says he wants to reach the "ultimate deal" and end the decades-old Israeli-Palestinian conflict. Most recently, a women's center was named after female terrorist Dalal Mughrabi, who in 1978 led the most lethal attack against Israeli citizens that claimed 37 lives, including many children.

The President also promised Israeli ambassador Dr Husam Zomlot, the Palestinian representative to the United States, said the Trump policy "gives peace a chance".

Abdullah in particular expressed deep concern that moving the U.S. Embassy would spark unrest among his country's large Palestinian population.

Minister of State for Media Affairs Mohammad Momani said the decision shows a deep understanding of the issue's sensitivity, which will contribute to creating the environment conducive to successful peace negotiations.

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