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Trump likely to delay move of US Embassy in Israel to Jerusalem

Trump likely to delay move of US Embassy in Israel to Jerusalem

Every six months since then, four consecutive presidents - Democratic and Republican (including Trump himself) - have signed such waivers.

Trump previously signed a waiver in June to delay the move, saying he would eventually approve the plan but wanted to maintain peace talks between the Israelis and Palestinians. If Trump cannot muster the judgment and discipline to resist pyromaniacal urges and push back against those who would be only too happy for an opportunity to blow up a peace process before it begins, we can only hope that someone in the White House will hold him back.

In a move that comes as the president appears to be delaying a decision on moving the USA 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.

"The president has always said it is a matter of when, not if", a White House spokesman said when asked about moving the embassy.

Trump is likely to continue his predecessors' policy of signing a six-month waiver overriding a 1995 law requiring that the U.S. Embassy be moved from Tel Aviv to Jerusalem, the officials said. One option under consideration is to include in any such statement a nod to Palestinian aspirations for their capital to be in east Jerusalem. Another possibility involves Vice President Mike Pence, who is set to travel to Israel in mid-December, making the Jerusalem announcement during his trip, one official said.

It could, however, help satisfy the pro-Israel, right-wing base that helped him win the presidency and also please the Israeli government, a close USA ally.

"No decision has been made on that matter yet", State Department spokeswoman Heather Nauert said on Thursday. The officials said that Trump is likely to issue a new waiver but that he may change his mind. Officials said the plans weren't final, however, and the US was working through additional legal and policy considerations.

Palestinian leaders, Arab governments and Western allies have long urged Trump not to proceed with the embassy relocation, which would go against decades of USA policy by granting de facto US recognition of Israel's claim to all of Jerusalem as its capital.

"Last June the president said that it was a question of when the embassy would move, not if", a USA embassy official told ABC News. Washington has a veto on the council and could block any effort to declare the violation, but any such vote risks being an embarrassment and driving a wedge between the United States and many of its closest allies.