Trump waives law requiring US move its embassy to Jerusalem

Author

02 June, 2017

President Donald Trump broke one of his major foreign policy campaign promises Thursday, signing a waiver that delays the move of the USA embassy in Israel to Jerusalem for at least another six months - the clearest sign yet that Trump is serious about forging what he calls the "ultimate deal" in the Middle East.

"We are disappointed the President chose at this time to sign the Jerusalem Embassy Act waiver but remain hopeful that he will fulfill his campaign pledge and move the US Embassy in Israel to Jerusalem", said Christians United for Israel in a statement.

"It is long past time that we rectify this error and locate our embassy in Jerusalem and it is deeply disappointing that the President has decided not to do so", DeSantis added. Israel captured the area from Jordan in the 1967 Mideast war and claims all the city as its eternal capital. Israel considers the holy city to be its capital and insists the city must not be divided; Palestinians claim east Jerusalem as the capital for a future, independent state.

He has approved a waiver to defer relocating the embassy, as his predecessors have done every six months since 1995.

Thursday June 1 was the last possible day for Mr Trump to decide whether to sign the waiver or not.

Besides the Palestinian issue, Bennett says Trump's visit buttressed Israel's regional security because the US showed it's standing with Sunni Arab countries and Israel against Iran. The Palestinians argue moving the embassy would prejudge one of the most sensitive issues in the conflict, undermining America's status as an effective mediator.

Trump recently visited Israel and the West Bank to meet with Israeli and Palestinian leaders during his first foreign trip overseas and after expressed hopefulness for a peace deal between the two groups - a pursuit that has beleaguered past administrations.

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The Palestinian Authority's ambassador to the U.S., Husam Zomlot, said that Trump's decision "gives peace a chance" and that the Palestinians "are ready to start the consultation process with the U.S. Administration" on a peace deal.

Signing the waiver this week forestalls any move for another six months.

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

It is not clear if Trump's alleged scorning of Abbas impacted the Palestinian government's commitment to resuming peace talks with Israel. But a U.S. official said no timetable has been set.

A statement from the Prime Minister's Office said that Israel's consistent position has been that the USA embassy, like all the embassies in Israel, needs to be located in Jerusalem.

Here is an earlier report by the US Campaign for Palestinian Rights describing years of USA policy against recognizing Jerusalem as the Israeli capital, and explaining that moving the embassy would legitimize ethnic cleansing of Palestinians from Jerusalem. "There's still a lack of clarity in the region what Trump means by peace - what is this deal?"


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