Trump signs waiver, won't move embassy to Jerusalem now

US President Donald Trump

US President Donald Trump

According to Trump's statements on the campaign train, the first day of his presidency was supposed to see the USA embassy in Israel move from Tel Aviv, the nation's capital, to Jerusalem, which Israel shares with Palestine as part of their tense, unhappy coexistence.

Abu Rudeineh made the assertion following statements by Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu that Israel planned to maintain military control over the West Bank - even in the event that a peace treaty is signed.

It added that: "Israel's consistent position is that the American embassy, like the embassies of all countries with whom we have diplomatic relations, should be in Jerusalem, our eternal capital". 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. "The question is not if that move happens, but only when", Spicer said in the statement, according to the political news website Politico. 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. The White House described Trump's waiver as a move to improve chances for an Israeli-Palestinian peace deal, but the relocation also risked igniting tensions across the Middle East.

"No one should consider this step to be in any way a retreat from the president's strong support for Israel", according to the White House statement on the signing of the waiver. Instead, he would recognize Jerusalem by moving the embassy there.

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.

"Given the choice between moving the embassy to Jerusalem or getting a waiver on visas", Gilboa said, "the second is preferable to most Israelis".

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

While there have been divisions among Trump's aides on the issue, the view that appears to have prevailed is that the United States should keep the embassy in Tel Aviv for now to avoid angering the Palestinians, Arab governments and Western allies while the president seeks to nurture peace efforts.

Trump was facing a Thursday deadline to renew the waiver or see the State Department lose half its funding for its overseas facilities.

Presidents of both parties have consistently renewed the waivers for six-month stretches. The long-standing USA position is that Jerusalem's fate must be worked out through Israeli-Palestinian negotiations.

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