December 19, 2018

Report: Trump to delay embassy move for six months

A new report states that President Trump will sign a waiver to delay moving the United States embassy from Tel Aviv to Jerusalem for another six months, but he does plan on eventually moving it.

According to Bloomberg, Trump told various Arab leaders, including Palestinian Authority President Mahmoud Abbas, Jordanian King Abdullah and Egyptian President Abdel Fattah Al-Sisi, that the embassy move will eventually happen, although he hasn’t specified when. Trump is expected to declare Jerusalem as the capital on Wednesday, which would presumably be the first step toward the eventual embassy move.

Various world leaders have already begun criticizing the potential embassy move. Abbas is warning of “dangerous consequences”; Al-Sisi and Saudi Arabia King Salman have issued similar warnings. Abdullah is claiming that the move would prospects of a peace agreement. Turkish President Recep Tayipp Erdogan has warned that Turkey will sever diplomatic ties with Israel if the move occurs. The European Union (EU) is calling on Jerusalem to be the joint capital of both Israel and Palestine.

Additionally, Palestinian factions are preparing for three “days of rage” from Wednesday through Friday in response to Trump’s actions. As a result, the U.S. consulate in Jerusalem is banning government employees from personal travel to the Old City, West Bank and Gaza and is urging U.S. citizens to avoid areas with large crowds and police presence.

Israel Defense Minister Avigdor Liberman said on Monday that Israel would be able “to deal with all the ramifications” of Trump’s Jerusalem actions. Liberman supports the idea of Trump recognizing Jerusalem as the capital of Israel and moving the embassy to Jerusalem, calling the moves a “step in the right direction” and “very, very important to all Jewish people.” He also called it an “injustice” that Jerusalem isn’t recognized worldwide as the capital of Israel.

Under the 1995 Jerusalem Embassy Relocation Act, the president has to make a decision every six months on whether or not to issue a waiver that delays the embassy from being moved to Jerusalem. That waiver has been issued every since six months since the law’s passage.

If Trump does eventually move the embassy to Jerusalem, it could be done quickly by converting the U.S. consulate in Jerusalem into an embassy.