US President Donald Trump is set to recognize Jerusalem as the capital of Israel within days and is considering how to move the American embassy from Tel Aviv to Jerusalem, according to Ynet News and other newspapers.
Reports from inside Israel allege that pressure from the Republican Party and Evangelical Christian groups is encouraging the Trump Administration to assess how to fulfill the president’s election promise and avoid signing the waiver that would leave the embassy in Tel Aviv.
Renewed every six months, the waiver is signed by the heads of both US political parties to prevent the embassy being moved from the Israeli capital to Jerusalem, and has been signed by every US president for the past two decades.
The latest report comes just two days after US Vice President Mike Pence said that Trump was “actively considering” how to move the US embassy to Jerusalem, reiterating that “America will always stand with Israel”.
Trump promised repeatedly during his election campaign that the US would recognize Jerusalem as “the eternal capital of the Jewish people”.
It has been suggested that the move may take place to mark 70 years of Israel’s independence, an anniversary coming up next year. Trump expressed his disappointment at signing the waiver in June, and less than a week later the US Senate passed a resolution declaring Jerusalem the “undivided” capital of Israel.
Last month, President Trump stated in an interview that he wanted to give peace between Israel and Palestine a chance before following through on his controversial promise to move the embassy.
Asked if there was a time-frame for the embassy move, Trump said: “We’re going to make a decision in the not too distant future.”
If implemented, the move would be seen as the first step to a drastic abdication of longstanding US policy that has largely adhered to international standards on Israel-Palestine, which maintains that East Jerusalem is an intricate part of occupied Palestinian territory and the capital of any future Palestinian state, despite Israel’s annexation of the territory.
Jordan’s King Abdullah has previously condemned such plans, stating that “the transfer of the American embassy to Jerusalem at this stage will have repercussions in the Palestinian, Arab and Islamic scene.”
The Jordanian government also added that such a move would “endanger the two-state solution and could be potentially exploited by terrorists to stoke anger, frustration, and desperation in order to spread their ideologies.”