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Tuesday, October 24, 2017

The US Embassy in Tel Aviv (Credit: Kobi Richter/TPS)

(TPS and combined sources) US President Donald Trump has decided that he will not move the US Embassy to Jerusalem and will sign the waiver delaying the move of the US Embassy from Tel Aviv to Israel’s capital by six months. Israeli news source, NRG, reported that the U.S. has decided not to move its embassy to Jerusalem, citing unnamed sources.

The US President would veto the enactment of the Jerusalem Embassy Act, a law that was passed by Congress in 1995, according to the NRG report. The act recognizes Jerusalem as the undivided capital of Israel and states that the US embassy should be established in the capital.

This is not the first time that a US President has used his power of veto against the law. Former US Presidents Bill Clinton, George W. Bush and Barack Obama all vetoed the act as well, signing a waiver postponing the law’s implementation every six months, citing national security reasons. The waiver, which was last signed in October 2016 by former President Obama a month before he left office, is set to expire at the end of May.

Trump, however, departing from traditional U.S. policy, cited during his election campaign that he would move the U.S. Embassy to Jerusalem. “We will move the American embassy to the eternal capital of the Jewish people, Jerusalem,” Trump told the American Israel Public Affairs Committee in March 2016. As late as last week, Vice President Mike Pence said that Trump was “seriously considering” moving the U.S. Embassy during a Washington event celebrating Israel’s Declaration of Independence in 1948.

During a press conference with Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu in February, President Trump said regarding the relocation, “I’d love to see that happen. We’ll see what happens.”

Since taking office, Trump has said that he would like to see the move take place eventually, not right away.

Trump is expected to arrive in Israel for a one day visit on May 22, a day before Israel celebrates the 50th anniversary of the capital’s liberation on Jerusalem Day. This will be Trump’s first visit as US President to the Jewish state. He will address a range of regional issues during his visit.

At press time, The Jerusalem Post and The Algemeiner have reported that Israel is denying these reports. Also, Times of Israel is reporting that Deputy Press Secretary Sarah Huckabee Sanders has refused to confirm the reports.