Global

Trump likely to delay move of US Embassy in Israel to Jerusalem

Trump likely to delay move of US Embassy in Israel to Jerusalem

President Trump is expected next month to once again delay the decision to move the US embassy in Israel from Tel Aviv to Jerusalem, which was a major campaign promise.

As popular as this action may be among some Israelis and their right-wing American supporters, it will justifiably infuriate Palestinians, who view East Jerusalem as their future capital, and who see themselves as the guardians of Jerusalem's Muslim holy sites.

It was unclear what Mr. Trump will decide on the waiver question, but officials said one option would be to recognize Jerusalem as the capital and announce plans for the embassy move, but postpone the actual relocation for several years. Another possibility involves Vice President Mike Pence, who is set to travel to Israel in mid-December, making the Jerusalem announcement during his trip, one official said.

While the White House plans have yet to be finalized, USA embassies are already warning host governments across the world to prepare for possible action, according to a report in The Independent. But as president, he has faced equally forceful lobbying from close US allies such as King Abdullah II of Jordan, who have impressed on him the dangers in abandoning America's carefully balanced position on the holy city.

State Department spokeswoman Heather Nauert told the AP of a potential embassy move: "No decision on this matter has been made yet". The officials said that Trump is likely to issue a new waiver but that he may change his mind.

Palestinian leaders, Arab governments and Western allies have long urged Trump not to proceed with the embassy relocation, which would go against decades of USA policy by granting de facto US recognition of Israel's claim to all of Jerusalem as its capital.

Diplomatic missions around the Muslim world were reportedly told to be wary of possible protests next week when an announcement on the embassy and Israeli capital is likely to come. Unilateral American recognition of Jerusalem as Israel's capital, before Israeli Jerusalem has been defined in bilateral negotiations, would pre-judge the outcome of peace talks.

Citing American officials, the newspaper reported that the plan was not final, but that if legal and policy considerations were resolved, a formal announcement could be made next week. Washington has a veto on the council and could block any effort to declare the U.S.in violation, but any such vote risks being an embarrassment and driving a wedge between the United States and many of its closest allies.


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