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Trump orders hold on US embassy move to Jerusalem

Trump had promised during his campaign to move the US embassy to Jerusalem. [Getty]

Date of publication: 1 June, 2017

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US President Donald Trump has signed a legal waiver that will keep the US embassy in Tel Aviv, backing down on a major campaign promise to relocate it to Jerusalem.
US President Donald Trump has signed a legal waiver that will keep the US embassy in Tel Aviv, backing down on a major campaign promise to relocate it to Jerusalem.

A US official speaking on condition of anonymity insisted that the decision was a delay, not a reversal, according to AFP.

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

"In timing such a move he will seek to maximize the chances of successfully negotiating a deal between Israel and the Palestinians."

A formal announcement is expected later Thursday.

Israeli Prime Minister Binyamin Netanyahu said Israel was 
"disappointed" by the decision but appreciated Trump's friendship to Israel and "his commitment to moving the embassy in the future."

"Maintaining embassies outside the capital drives peace further away by helping keep alive the Palestinian fantasy that the Jewish people and the Jewish state have no connection to Jerusalem," a statement from his office said.

Since the US Congress passed the Jerusalem Embassy Act in 1995, every sitting president has signed a six-month waiver to override the law and keep the embassy in Tel Aviv.

The deadline to renew the waiver was 1 June.

US President Donald Trump had promised during his campaign to move the American embassy to Jerusalem, whose status is one of the thorniest issues of the Israeli-Palestinian conflict.

The proposed move has been condemned internationally and in the Arab world as a serious setback for any hopes to achieve a solution to the Israeli-Palestinian conflict.

Moving the US embassy from Tel Aviv to Jerusalem would effectively give recognition to Israel's claim over the holy city, which was illegally annexed after the 1967 war.

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