Trump signs waiver, delaying promised embassy move in Israel

Jun 02, 2017, 02:06
Trump signs waiver, delaying promised embassy move in Israel

WASHINGTON (CNN) - President Donald Trump has signed the waiver keeping the United States embassy in Tel Aviv avoiding - for now - a controversial move to Jerusalem.

Under the passage of the Jerusalem Embassy Act in 1995, the president must sign a waiver every six months to delay the move of the embassy to Jerusalem.

Still, a USA official said Trump remained committed to his campaign pledge and would eventually fulfill it, though no timetable had been set.

"As he has repeatedly stated his intention to move the embassy, the question is not if that move happens, but only when", the statement from the White House read.

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The report cited senior White House officials who said Trump has reached this decision and will sign the waiver before the final deadline midnight Wednesday.

The Jerusalem Embassy Act passed by Congress in 1995 mandating relocation of embassy to Jerusalem allows the president to waive the requirement in accordance with USA national security interests.

It says that despite the disappointment, Israel appreciates Trump's friendship and his commitment to moving the embassy to Jerusalem in the future. "We are serious and genuine about achieving a just and lasting peace".

A senior Israeli official is expressing disappointment over Trump's decision against relocating the embassy to Jerusalem and is accusing the US of caving in to Arab pressure.

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Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu's office said Trump's move had damaged prospects for peace by preserving "the Palestinian fantasy that the Jewish people and the Jewish state have no connection to Jerusalem". The US president has said he is reviewing whether to fulfil his campaign promise to move the facility to Jerusalem. The long-standing USA position is that Jerusalem's fate must be worked out through Israeli-Palestinian negotiations.

The official also defended the fact that Trump not moving the embassy was breaking a key campaign promise.

US President Donald Trump (R) shakes hands with King Abdullah II of Jordan in the Oval Office at the White House as First Lady Melania Trump and Queen Rania look on in Washington, DC, on April 5, 2017.

Trump had been up against a Thursday deadline to either certify the US had opened an embassy in Jerusalem or see the State Department lose half its funding for overseas facilities. Israel captured east Jerusalem - claimed by Palestinians for the capital of a future independent state - from Jordan in 1967 and annexed it, in a move not internationally recognized.

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While Clinton and President George W. Bush similarly pledged at different points to move the embassy, they both repeatedly signed the waiver to prevent the embassy's relocation throughout their presidencies because they said it would undermine the peace process.

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