Trump signs waiver to delay moving US embassy to Jerusalem

Cheryl Sanders
June 2, 2017

Ghaith Al-Omari, a senior fellow at The Washington Institute for Near East policy, told Arab News that "Trump signed the waiver for two reasons".

Momani says the president's decision shows "how much the administration values the advice of its allies" and that the focus must be on relaunching serious Israeli-Palestinian peace talks.

President Trump renewed a waiver Thursday that keeps the U.S. Embassy to Israel in Tel Aviv, rather than moving it to Jerusalem as he had promised during the presidential campaign.

Former U.S. Ambassador to Israel Dan Shapiro, who served under President Barack Obama, said that Trump's decision was the right one but that he hopes Thursday's waiver is the last signed by a U.S. president.

Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu's office said in a statement it was "disappointed" in the decision.

In a memorandum to Secretary of State Rex Tillerson, Trump said that "it is necessary, in order to protect the national security interests" of the United States.

To @POTUS & @FLOTUS: Our dear friends, we were happy to host you during your wonderful visit to Israel.

In 1995, Congress passed a law requiring the embassy to be moved to Jerusalem by 1999 or else the State Department's building budget would be cut in half.

"For many Jews in America, it is a kind of symbol".

On the campaign trail, Trump pledged to move the U.S. Embassy to Jerusalem. The Palestinians never controlled Jerusalem, but claim that it is their territory and that Israelis are the "occupiers".

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

The whole matter boils down to symbolism. The majority of United Nations member states do not recognize Israel's annexation of east Jerusalem, and locate their embassies in and near Tel Aviv because of that. 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.

During the 2016 presidential campaign, Trump vowed he would expedite the move. The Tel Aviv regime, however, has refused to return to the 1967 borders and is unwilling to discuss the issue of al-Quds.

Then establish the embassy in W Jerusalem. "They thought it is not going to happen". Perhaps more importantly, that embassy would probably instantly become one of the world's top ten targets for terrorism. Yes, the current arrangement of a USA embassy in Tel Aviv and a USA consulate in Jerusalem is a bit of a snub; it would undoubtedly irk, say, the Jordanians if we had our embassy in Aqaba instead of Amman. He reportedly was convinced on his recent visit to Saudi Arabia and to the Palestinian Authority that moving the embassy at this time would imperil such a deal.

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