Trump Breaks Campaign Promise, Keeps Embassy in Israel in Tel Aviv

by Marta Holmes June 4, 2017, 4:50

US President Donald Trump has signed a waiver in order to prevent the moving of the US Embassy to Israel from Tel Aviv to Jerusalem, thus reneging on a promise he made numerous times on the campaign trail. Numerous leaders, including Palestinian officials, told Trump that establishing the embassy in Jerusalem would harm the U.S.'s ability to help broker the "ultimate deal" in peace talks.

In 1995, the US Congress passed the Jerusalem Embassy Act which mandates moving the embassy to Jerusalem by 1999.

President Donald Trump is going back on a campaign promise by deciding to not move the U.S. embassy in Israel, the White House confirmed Thursday.

"We are ready to to start the consultation process with the U.S. administration", Zomlot said.

Jerusalem is considered one of the most complicated issues to resolve in a conflict that has spanned almost a century.

Trump's decision, the minister said, highlights the USA administration's respect to its partners' views.

Still, Netanyahu said, "Israel appreciates the friendly words of President Trump and his commitment to move the embassy to Jerusalem at a later date".

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Chuck Schumer, the highest-ranking Democrat in the Senate, and Eliot Engel, ranking member of the House Foreign Relations Committee, both issued condemnatory statements after the White House temporarily waived a congressional requirement compelling the embassy move.

Foreign countries now have their embassies in the Israeli commercial capital Tel Aviv since they do not recognise Israel's unilateral claim of control over all of Jerusalem.

Despite promise upon promise from US Presidents, the US Embassy in Israel still resides in Tel Aviv, not Jerusalem, the capital of the Jewish State. Israel captured the area from Jordan in the 1967 Mideast war and claims all the city as its eternal capital. The State Department, however recommended against an embassy move, one U.S. official said.

Trump's closest advisers are reported to be divided about the wisdom of quickly making good on the pledge, a move that would delight many Israelis but dismay Palestinians and raise concerns among Israel's Arab neighbours.

Signing the waiver this week forestalls any move for another six months. The White House added that the decision was made to "maximize the chances of successfully negotiating a deal between Israel and Palestinians".

"The decision underscores the seriousness of the USA administration's efforts to promote peace and build a bridge of trust", he said, "particularly after the summit in Saudi Arabia [attended by Trump] and the meetings between [PA President Mahmoud] Abbas and Trump".

The U.S. says its policy on Jerusalem hasn't changed and that Jerusalem's status must be negotiated between Israelis and Palestinians. A spokesman for Palestinian Authority President Mahmoud Abbas said it's an "important positive step" and shows the U.S. is serious about promoting peace. However, Nathan Thrall, the International Crisis Group's senior analyst on Israel/Palestine, speculated that Netanyahu may actually want the embassy to remain in Tel Aviv for now.


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