(JNS.org) President Donald Trump signed a waiver Thursday to keep the U.S. embassy in Tel Aviv, avoiding a move to Jerusalem for an additional six months.
Trump administration officials say the president is still in favor of relocating the embassy, but was being cautious not to provoke the Palestinians amid a renewed U.S.-led push for Israeli-Palestinian peace accords.
A senior White House official told CNN before Thursday's waiver signing that moving the embassy is "something the president supports, something he supported during the campaign, something he still supports. If he signs the wavier this week, that will not be indicative of him reversing his opinion, it will just be a question of timing. It will be when, not if."
Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu's office said Thursday, “Israel's consistent position is that the American embassy, like the embassies of all countries with whom we have diplomatic relations, should be in Jerusalem, our eternal capital....Though Israel is disappointed that the embassy will not move at this time, we appreciate today's expression of President Trump’s friendship to Israel and his commitment to moving the embassy in the future.”
After Congress passed the Jerusalem Embassy Act in 1995, authorizing the embassy's relocation from Tel Aviv to Jerusalem, every president since then has avoided implementing the move by signing the waiver twice a year, citing national security concerns.
Before the waiver was signed, Christian Zionist organizations had urged Trump to keep his election campaign promise to move the embassy to Jerusalem.