Trump holds off on plans to move U.S. embassy in Israel from Tel Aviv to Jerusalem

Palestinian Arabs would condemn such a move, however, since the city is technically divided territory between a Jewish western half and a Muslim eastern half.
By Leon Clarke | Jun 04, 2017
President Trump signed a waiver Thursday to keep the U.S. embassy in Israel in its present location in Tel Aviv, backing down for now on a campaign promise to relocate the embassy to Jerusalem. He said that he wished to improve his near-term prospects for making progress toward Israeli-Palestinian peace negotiations, and that undertaking the embassy move now would impede these efforts.

"President Trump made this decision to maximize the chances of successfully negotiating a deal between Israel and the Palestinians, fulfilling his solemn obligation to defend America's national security interests. But, as he has repeatedly stated his intention to move the embassy, the question is not if that move happens, but only when," said the White House.

Trump promised to move the embassy to Jerusalem during the election campaign. It is a popular idea among conservative and orthodox Jews in both the United States and Israel because Jerusalem was Israel's capital in ancient times and many of them consider it to be the Israeli state's true capital to this day.

Palestinian Arabs would condemn such a move, however, since the city is technically divided territory between a Jewish western half and a Muslim eastern half. Those who advocate for an independent Palestinian state envision that state having its capital in Jerusalem. The city holds additional significance to Arabs due to old historical and religious ties that predate the present-day Israeli state.

The waiver that Trump signed has been a mainstay of U.S. presidents for decades. Every U.S. president since Eisenhower has signed the same waiver every six months. Trump had vowed on the campaign trail that he would break with precedent on this.

Trump will get to revisit the issue again on December 1, when the waiver he signed expires.

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