Trump rejects moving Israel embassy to Jerusalem _ for now

Pierre Vaugeois
Juin 2, 2017

U.S. President Donald Trump broke a longstanding campaign pledge on Thursday, signing a waiver to postpone moving the American embassy from Tel Aviv to Jerusalem, explaining the decision as a move that would maximize the chance of a peace deal between Israelis and Palestinians.

Trump has yet to make his decision official but is required by law to act by Friday, according to one USA official who spoke on condition of anonymity.

He calls on the USA president to announce the embassy's relocation at the next earliest opportunity, noting that Israel this year is marking the 50th anniversary of the Six Day War.

Israel is "disappointed" that the embassy will not move at this time but appreciates Trump's friendship and commitment to moving it in the future, said Ofir Gendelman, a spokesman for Israeli PM Benjamin Netanyahu.

An official, speaking on condition of anonymity, said that Trump had signed a legal waiver that keeps the embassy in Tel Aviv, but insisted this was delay not a reversal.

"One of the things we realized early on was that so numerous policies related to current day Israeli government activities in the occupied territories have roots going back to the very first year of occupation", said Lior Yavne, founder and director of Akevot.

Israel claims the entirety of Jerusalem as its capital city, but the claim has not been widely recognized. The longstanding US position is that Jerusalem's fate must be worked out through Israeli-Palestinian negotiations.

Israel considers Jerusalem its capital, but the Palestinians claim east Jerusalem for the capital of a future state. But after he took office in January, the issue lost momentum as he met Arab leaders who warned it would be hard to rejuvenate long-stalled peace efforts unless he acted as a fair mediator.

Some of Trump's top aides have pushed for him to keep his campaign promise, not only because it would be welcomed by most Israelis but to satisfy the pro-Israel, right-wing base that helped him win the presidency.

"But, as he has repeatedly stated his intention to move the embassy, the question is not if that move happens, but only when". "All embassies should be in our capital, Jerusalem".

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