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January 23, 2017 7:11 pm

White House Non-Committal on Timeline for Decision on Potential Move of US Embassy to Jerusalem

avatar by Barney Breen-Portnoy

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White House Press Secretary Sean Spicer. Photo: Screenshot.

White House Press Secretary Sean Spicer. Photo: Screenshot.

A day after announcing the new Trump administration was in the beginning stages of talks on the potential relocation of the US Embassy in Israel from Tel Aviv to Jerusalem — a key campaign promise of President Donald Trump — White House Press Secretary Sean Spicer was non-committal about a timeline for the process.

At his first official White House press briefing Monday, Spicer declined on three occasions to be pinned down on specifics regarding the embassy issue.

“There’s no decision, we’re at the very early stages of that decision-making process,” Spicer said.

Later, he added, “It’s very early in this process…and his [Trump’s] team is going to continue to consult with stakeholders as we get there.”

The third time around, Spicer said, “There is a reason you go through a decision-making process and that’s what we’re in the process of starting right now. So I just don’t want to get ahead of [it]. If there was already a decision, we wouldn’t be going through a process.”

Spicer also noted that Trump could use his executive power to move the embassy.

In their public statements following their phone call on Sunday, Trump and Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu did not mention the embassy matter.

Watch the full Spicer press briefing below:

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  • Guest

    President Trump please keep your word. Convert the US consulate general in Jerusalem to the US embassy, and the US embassy in Tel Aviv to the US consulate general. This is move is as simple as an executive decision.

  • julea bacall

    Spicer was a very bad pick. So far, we cannot believe a word he has said. He doesn’t know anything. But Trump must get around to it soon or we start more petitions, marches, deals, whatever. But Trump does not even have his Cabinet set up.

  • Joseph Feld

    The first stage could be to move the Ambassador’s official residence to West Jerusalem, leaving the large embassy in Tel Aviv for the moment. West Jerusalem seems less controversial. The Israeli Knesset, Supreme Court President, Prime Minister and Chief Rabbinate are located in Jerusalem, not Tel Aviv. Jerusalem has been the Jewish religious ‘capital’ for 3,000 years, from the time of King David. Muslims face Mecca but Jews face Jerusalem, even in their graves, preparing for the Resurrection.

  • Citizenstat

    Well, here we go. Once the unequivocal campaign promises helped win the election, the new administration begins backing & filling. Are they seeking an Israeli quid for their pro quo, or is someone making vague (but clear) suggestions that such a move would have an adverse impact on the business ventures the new president is supposed to now know nothing about?

  • There should be a decision soon about moving the American embassy to Jerusalem, Israel. Hopefully, President Trump will make good on his campaign promise to move the embassy, as soon as possible.

  • Linda Yotes Birrell

    Does it really take this long for a U.S. President to give an order to move our U.S. Embassy to Jerusalem? I’m praying trump doesn’t back down.