Breaking Campaign Promise to Israel and her supporters, Trump Signs Order Delaying U.S. Embassy Move to Jerusalem
Trump made the decision to ‘maximize chances’ of reaching a deal between Israel and the Palestinians, White House says
U.S. President Donald Trump signed a waiver delaying the relocation of the U.S. Embassy in Israel from Tel Aviv to Jerusalem, breaking his election promise, several reports said on Thursday.
Trump’s decision, which is in line with long-standing American policy on this issue, breaks an election promise he made to move the embassy to Jerusalem, the second president to break such a promise after George W. Bush.
The waiver has been signed by every U.S. president since 1995, and it is valid for six months at a time. Former U.S. President Barack Obama signed it during the last weeks of his term, and on Thursday it will be half a year since he did so.
The White House said on Thursday that while Trump signed the waiver, he has no intention in breaking his campaign promise. “[N]o 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 White House said in a statement.
“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. But, as he has repeatedly stated his intention to move the embassy, the question is not if that move happens, but only when.”
Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu asked Trump not to sign the presidential order freezing the moving of the embassy from Tel Aviv to Jerusalem a week and a half ago during their meeting in Jerusalem. According to a senior Israeli official, Netanyahu told Trump that Israel was interested in having the embassy moved and that he did not think that this would cause a deterioration in the security situation in the West Bank.
On Thursday, the presidential order signed by Obama six months ago expires. Senior American officials stated over the past 24 hours that Trump is expected to issue an order renewing the freezing of the embassy move. According to these officials, the main reason for this is that Trump doesn’t want to thwart the efforts to revive the Israeli-Palestinian peace talks.
A senior Trump administration official said the Israeli government continued to discuss the matter through by messages, even after the Trump-Netanyahu meeting. Israeli Ambassador to Washington Ron Dermer discussed the matter with several senior White House officials and stressed that Israel wanted Trump to not sign the order. Early in the week, before Shavuot, Netanyahu spoke on the phone with U.S. Ambassador to Israel David Friedman, and relayed to him a similar message.
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