Trump Signs Waiver to Keep Embassy in Tel Aviv

Author

02 June, 2017

The move to renew the waiver for six months will keep the USA embassy in Tel Aviv for now, and the president added that he is reviewing his campaign promise of moving it to Jerusalem.

Jordanian government spokesman Mohammed Momani said Thursday that "we strongly welcome the decision and highly value the message it is sending".

Trump has made brokering peace between Israel and Palestine among the top priorities of his administration's foreign policy. But that claim, which is not recognized internationally, is disputed by Palestinians and neighboring Arab countries who want part of the city to serve as the capital for any future Palestinian state. He's taken this approach to avoid emboldening Netanyahu's rivals on the right, primarily Bennett, according to former USA ambassador to Israel Dan Shapiro. He signed a waiver Thursday to keep the embassy in Tel Aviv for the time being.

To circumvent the 1995 law requiring the embassy to relocate to Jerusalem, each USA president since Bill Clinton has signed a waiver every six months to keep the embassy in Tel Aviv. During his 12 years in office, the Palestinian president held unsuccessful peace negotiations with former Israeli Prime Minister Ehud Olmert in 2008 and Netanyahu in 2014, The New Yorker reports. The legislation included a caveat that the president could indefinitely delay the move by signing a six-month waiver, citing national security concerns.

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 predominant political factions in the Palestinian territories are Hamas (a US -designated terrorist organization) and Palestinian Authority chairman Mahmoud Abbas' Fatah (which supports suicide terrorists and their families with monthly stipends).

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"It's a question of when, not if", the official said, adding that "he doesn't think the timing is right, right now".

He said he would initiate the move on his first day in office.

A 1995 law mandates the relocation of the embassy, but provides the president with the prerogative to postpone the move on national security grounds.

Proponents of the move argue that not moving the embassy is a major strategic error that only empowers America's adversaries and damages Israel's standing in the world.

We are disappointed that the president has not yet followed through on his pledge to move the embassy, and we hope that he does so soon.

When Israel was established a year later, the US and other countries based their embassies in the Tel Aviv area instead of Jerusalem, out of respect for the United Nations plan.


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