Trump not moving U.S. embassy to Jerusalem for now

Violet Powell
December 1, 2017

As the Trump Administration is reportedly preparing to launch its Israeli-Palestinian peace plan, this dramatic change in the status quo is nearly certain to derail peace efforts and trigger violence.

In a move that comes as the president appears to be delaying a decision on moving the US embassy from Tel Aviv to Jerusalem, officials suggested Trump may instead recognize Jerusalem as Israel's capital in order to demonstrate a commitment to his campaign pledge.

Mr Trump is weighing a plan under which he would declare Jerusalem the capital of Israel, the officials said, deviating from White House predecessors who have insisted that it is a matter that must be decided in peace negotiations.

U.S. President Donald Trump is reportedly considering recognising Jerusalem as the capital of Israel in an official announcement next week, a move being hailed as detrimental to Palestine, and one which could derail the already delicate peace process. "The president is still considering options and we have nothing to announce".

Both Israelis and Palestinians claim Jerusalem as their capital.

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.

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The United States has no embassy building in Jerusalem that it could move USA diplomatic operations into, meaning any move would take plenty of lead time in order to build an embassy.

"No decision on this matter has been made yet", State Department spokesman Heather Nauert said Thursday. Jerusalem should indeed be recognized as Israel's capital, but only in the context of a peace agreement between Israel and the Palestinians.

Mr Trump pledged on the campaign trail past year that he would move the embassy from Tel Aviv to Jerusalem, a long-time goal of Republican politicians.

Jerusalem annexed the Arab-majority eastern parts of the city after the Six Day War in 1967, a move never recognized by the bulk of the global community. Israel considers all of the city its indivisible capital.

Action on the Israel embassy issue is meant to show progress on a key Trump campaign promise and aim to energize the Trump base.

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