Monday, 26 June, 2017

Trump to keep USA embassy in Tel Aviv - for now

Rickey Rodriguez | 04 June, 2017, 05:40

Trump issued a six-month waiver signed by successive U.S. presidents since 1995, that blocks the Jerusalem Embassy Act - approved by Congress then - and that requires the American Embassy to move from Tel Aviv to the holy city. The last waiver was signed by former President Barack Obama six months ago.

President Donald Trump postponed moving the U.S. embassy in Israel to Jerusalem on Thursday, avoiding a provocative step as he tries to revive the Israeli-Palestinian peace process. He says pursuing a Mideast peace deal fulfills the president's "solemn obligation to defend America's national security interests".

Although the embassy will remain in Tel Aviv for the time being, the White House statement made clear that moving the embassy is not a matter of if, but when.

President Trump acted correctly by resisting the temptation to make good on his past populist statements.

Michael Oren, a former Israeli ambassador to the US who now serves as deputy minister for diplomacy in the Netanyahu government, was among those who put pressure on Trump during his recent trip to Israel to follow through on his promise. Abdullah in particular expressed deep concern that moving the embassy would spark unrest among his country's large Palestinian population.

In 2017 Israel celebrates 50 years of control over Jerusalem, achieved during the 1967 six day war.

The Palestinians want East Jerusalem as the capital of their future state. But the issue is caught in the unending debate over the creation of separate Jewish and Palestinian states, with both the Israelis and Palestinians claiming Jerusalem as their capitals.

The Jerusalem Embassy Act was passed during Bill Clinton's first term in 1995, but has been waived every six months by United States presidents ever since.

Trump visited Israel and the occupied Palestinian territories last week, holding talks with both Palestinian President Mahmoud Abbas and Benjamin Netanyahu, Israeli prime minister. We're looking at it with great care, great care, believe me.

The fight over Jerusalem has a long history in the fight between Israel and Palestine.

During the March Arab Summit held in Jordan, Arab leaders warned against the consequences of such a step on the peace process between the Palestinians and the Israelis and peacemaking in the Middle East. I strongly urge the President to reconsider this most recent announcement.

After getting into the Oval Office, Trump said he'd study the issue.

Congress passed an act two decades ago to move the embassy to Jerusalem.

As a candidate, Donald Trump promised to make moving the USA embassy in Israel from Tel Aviv to Jerusalem a top priority.

The US government does not recognise Jerusalem as the capital of the Jewish state, as many other nations do, and despite the fact that the Israeli parliament, or Knesset, declared a unified Jerusalem as "eternal capital, indivisible from Israel".

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