Trump delays decision to move US Embassy to Jerusalem

US President Donald Trump signed a waiver that delays relocation of the US Embassy in Israel from Tel Aviv to Jerusalem, the White House says.

Photo by: Reuters
Photo by: Reuters

The latest move comes despite Trump vowing during the 2016 presidential campaign to move the US embassy to Jerusalem.

US President Donald Trump on Thursday signed a waiver to delay relocating the US Embassy in Israel to Jerusalem from Tel Aviv, the White House said, avoiding a controversial step that would have complicated his efforts to restart long-stalled Israeli-Palestinian peace talks.

Trump, who vowed during the 2016 presidential campaign to move the embassy, chose instead to continue his predecessors' policy of signing a six-month waiver overriding a 1995 law requiring that the embassy be transferred to Jerusalem.

Trump committed to plan?

"He (Trump) has repeatedly stated his intention to move the embassy," the White House said in a statement. "The question is not if that move happens, but only when."

The White House said Trump "made this decision to maximise the chances of successfully negotiating a deal between Israel and the Palestinians."

Another US official insisted that this was delay not a reversal.

"It's a question of when, not if," the official said, adding that "he doesn't think the timing is right, right now."

Move "disappoints" Israel

"Though Israel is disappointed that the embassy will not move at this time, we appreciate today's expression of President Trump's friendship to Israel and his commitment to moving the embassy in the future," part of a statement from Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu said.

"Israel's consistent position is that the American embassy, like the embassies of all countries with whom we have diplomatic relations, should be in Jerusalem, our eternal capital."

AFP, Reuters