Trump Delays Promised U.S. Embassy Move To Jerusalem

President Donald Trump signed a waiver Thursday delaying the move of the USA embassy in Israel from Tel Aviv to Jerusalem.

To circumvent the 1995 law requiring the embassy to relocate to Jerusalem, each US president since Bill Clinton has signed a waiver every six months to keep the embassy in Tel Aviv.

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.

One Mideast analyst says President Donald Trump's decision not to immediately move the USA embassy in Israel to Jerusalem represents a "very traditional approach to Arab-Israeli peacemaking". Lawmakers later passed the Jerusalem Embassy Act in 1995, signed into law by President Clinton, which authorized the move the embassy to Jerusalem by 1999 with one caveat - the president could indefinitely delay the move by signing a waiver, citing national security concerns.

Another administration official said the decision to sign the waiver was not yet final and that paperwork both to move the embassy to Jerusalem and to keep it in Tel Aviv had been presented to the president.

The White House says President Donald Trump chose to delay moving the USA embassy to Jerusalem to maximize chances of reaching a peace deal between Israelis and Palestinians. Under pressure from Arab leaders and others, Trump followed the lead of past presidents of both parties who have waived the law in six-month stretches.

Israeli prime minister Benjamin Netanyahu said the move has hurt the prospects for peace with the Palestinians. Last December, when Trump appointed him as ambassador, he said he would work to strengthen ties between America and Israel, "and look forward to doing this from the USA embassy in Israel's eternal capital, Jerusalem".

The Palestinian ambassador to Washington, Husam Zomlot, said the move "gives peace a chance".

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The Palestinians praised Mr Trump's decision, saying it strengthens the chances of peace.

Mr Zomlot said: "We are ready to start the consultation process with the USA administration".

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.

Jerusalem's status is one of the most emotionally charged matters separating the Israelis and Palestinians.

A senior administration official told CNN Thursday that the embassy will move when conditions are right.

Today, no country has an embassy in Jerusalem. The announcement postpones the president's campaign promise to move diplomatic operations to Jerusalem. He was in the process of negotiating peace with the Palestinians, who also had political claims to Jerusalem.

A relocation of the USA embassy is "something the president supports, something he supported during the campaign, something he still supports", the official told CNN.

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