Israel Denies Receiving Message From Trump Administration That Embassy Will Not Be Moved to Jerusalem
Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu’s office denied a report on Wednesday that it had received a notification from the White House that the US had decided against moving its embassy in the Jewish state from Tel Aviv to Jerusalem — a pledge made by President Donald Trump during the 2016 election campaign.
According to the Hebrew news site nrg, Trump will follow the example of his three immediate predecessors by vetoing a relocation of the embassy.
Under the terms of the Jerusalem Embassy Act, passed by Congress in 1995, the embassy should have been moved to the Israeli capital no later than May 1999. But all three presidents since the legislation went through — Bill Clinton, George W. Bush, and Barack Obama — have signed twice-yearly waivers delaying its implementation, on “national security” grounds.
President Obama signed the last waiver on October 16, 2016. Trump is due to make a decision on whether to sign on May 31.
The nrg report said Trump had originally planned to announce the move on his first day in office on January 20, but then changed his mind “for reasons unknown.” The report went on to say a message had now been relayed from Washington to Jerusalem clarifying that Trump would sign the waiver after all, “in contradiction to Israel’s explicit requests.”
The uncertainty over whether Trump will keep a promise made at the 2016 AIPAC conference — where, as a candidate in the Republican primaries, he stated his determination to move the embassy to “the eternal capital of the Jewish people” — comes one week after he hosted a meeting with Palestinian Authority President Mahmoud Abbas at the White House.
A report published earlier this week by the pro-Abbas Ramallah newspaper Al-Ayyam said Palestinian officials were pleasantly surprised by the warm reception they received in Washington, DC. Abbas is said to have told Trump that “We are left with the solution of two states: a Palestinian state in the 1967 borders, and Israel. We want a state in those borders, with East Jerusalem as its capital.”