Trump signs waiver keeping USA embassy in Tel Aviv

Trump signs waiver keeping USA embassy in Tel Aviv”

Under a 1990s law passed by Congress, the president must move the U.S. Embassy to Jerusalem or the State Department loses half its funding for overseas facilities.

Earlier in the day, Trump renewed a waiver that will temporarily keep the USA embassy in Tel Aviv instead of moving it to Jerusalem, which Israel considers its capital city.

Experts had been cautioning the administration that the move could jeopardize prospects for revived Israeli-Palestinian peace negotiations, and lead to possible violence, which is why Mr. Trump's predecessors in the White House have also signed the waiver to delay the relocation of the embassy.

That letter mentioned language in the Republican Party's 2016 platform that reads: "We recognize Jerusalem as the eternal and indivisible capital of the Jewish state and call for the American embassy to be moved there in fulfillment of USA law".

Robert Satloff, who runs the Washington Institute for Near East Policy, says it's a move that could bring the Israelis and Palestinians "back to the debate", while avoiding anything that might upset either side too much.

Despite the disappointment, the statement indicated Israel appreciates Trump's friendship and his commitment to moving the embassy to Jerusalem in the future.

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Trump signed a waiver on Thursday morning that will keep the U.S. embassy in Israel's second-largest city for at least the next six months.

But the White House suggested the embassy would eventually be relocated. On May 3, Abbas met with Trump at the White House, where the two leaders announced an initiative to renew talks between Israel and Palestine.

Israel lays claim to the entirety of Jerusalem al-Quds as its capital while Palestinians want its eastern part as the capital of their future state. The previous waiver, issued by President Barack Obama in December, would have expired Thursday. In doing so, the U.S. is able to avoid recognizing Jerusalem as the capital of Israel which would damage relationships with Palestinians who have also claimed the city.

"We are ready to start the consultation process with the USA administration", he said after Trump's announcement. The Palestinians argue moving the embassy would prejudge one of the most sensitive issues in the conflict, undermining America's status as an effective mediator. Despite that, most experts are skeptical of Trump's chances for achieving a peace deal that had eluded other US presidents.

"Peace can never take root in an environment where violence is tolerated, funded and even rewarded", Trump said.

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