President Donald Trump has — at least for now — backtracked on his campaign promise to move the U.S. Embassy in Israel from its current location in Tel Aviv to Jerusalem, signing a waver that will delay such a move for at least the next six months.
In a statement issued to the Washington Post, the White House sought to soften claims that Trump is backing away from his pledge, proclaiming that “the question is not if” the embassy will eventually move “but only when.”
“While President Donald J. Trump signed the waiver under the Jerusalem Embassy Act and delayed moving the U.S. Embassy in Israel from Tel Aviv to Jerusalem, no one should consider this step to be in any way a retreat from the President’s strong support for Israel and for the United States-Israel alliance,” the statement read. “President Trump made this decision to maximize the chances of successfully negotiating a deal between Israel and the Palestinians, fulfilling his solemn obligation to defend America’s national security interests.”
As Faithwire previously reported, it would have been a big geopolitical deal if Trump had gone through with the embassy move, as the issue is at the very heart of the ongoing drama and violence in the Middle East.
While Israel considers Jerusalem to be its capital, the Palestinians also see the eastern part of the city as their future capital. As NPR explained back in November, Israel has called the entirety of Jerusalem its “eternal” center. Clearly, there’s a bit of a stalemate.
So, for years, the U.S. has stayed out of the battle, essentially allowing the two parties to hash it out.
While Congress voted in the 1990s in favor of the embassy move from Tel Aviv to Jerusalem, Clinton, Bush and Obama — acting on advice from the State Department — all signed waivers to delay the decision, according to NPR. Trump’s decision falls in line.
With all this in mind, it’s likely that Trump’s move to sign the waiver will cause consternation among some conservatives and Republicans, alike. As a presidential candidate, he repeatedly pledged to move the embassy.
As Deseret News reported last year, the 2016 Republican Party Platform called Jerusalem the “eternal and indivisible capital of the Jewish state,” and declined to call, as it did in its 2012 language, for two “democratic states.”
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