Trump made a campaign promise to move the embassy
He recently returned from a trip that included visiting Israel
President Donald Trump is expected to renew the waiver that keeps the US embassy in Tel Aviv, avoiding, for now, a controversial move to Jerusalem, several senior administration and diplomatic sources told CNN.
Trump promised throughout the 2016 campaign that he would move the US embassy from to Jerusalem, an action the Israeli government has long advocated. A senior administration official said Wednesday that Trump still supports the move but believes with the possibility of peace between Israel and the Palestinians at hand, now may not be the best time to anger the Palestinians by moving the embassy to contested land.
Signing the waiver this week would forestall any move for another six months. Every US president has signed such a waiver twice a year after a law was passed in 1995 mandating the relocation of the embassy to Jerusalem.
One senior administration official said the final decision hasn’t been officially made, but that paperwork to both keep the embassy in Tel Aviv and move it to Jerusalem has been presented to the West Wing for Trump’s approval.
The same official said that while Trump may not authorize the move this week, the President still envisions moving the embassy at some point.
Moving the embassy is “something the President supports, something he supported during the campaign, something he still supports,” the official said. “If he signs the wavier this week, that will not be indicative of him reversing his opinion, it will just be a question of timing. It will be when, not if.”
Trump, after visiting both Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu and Palestinian President Mahmoud Abbas in the Middle East earlier this month, signaled that he believes peace between the two could be at hand.
And Abbas has long said moving the embassy to Jerusalem could shatter chances for peace talks.
“The question is does making this move prejudice” the peace process, the official said. “But it is a fact that the Israeli government’s intuitions are in Jerusalem … and the typical definition of a capital is where this government is headquartered.”