US President Donald Trump is expected to postpone the transfer of the US embassy in Israel from Tel Aviv to Jerusalem this week despite his pledge during the election campaign to take the controversial move, US officials and diplomatic sources said on Wednesday.
The sources said that Trump is likely to continue the policy of his predecessors in the presidency by signing a document that defers for six months the application of a law issued in 1995 to transfer the embassy to Jerusalem. The move will take place if Trump’s efforts are taken to resume peace talks between Israel and the Palestinians.
A US official, speaking on condition of anonymity, said Trump had not yet made a formal decision but the law required him to make a decision by Friday.
Trump is expected to renew the application of the law. But his administration plans to make it clear that Trump remains committed to his 2016 campaign promise, but the administration will not set a timetable for the move, officials said.
Asked if Trump would sign the postponement, White House spokesman Sean Spicer told reporters on Wednesday: “Once we have a decision we will announce it,” adding that there will be “something about this very soon.”
While there are divisions between Trump’s aides on this issue, the prevailing view seems to be that the United States should keep its embassy in Tel Aviv to avoid angering Palestinians, Arab governments and Western allies as the US president seeks to revive peace efforts.
Trump avoided any public mention of the possible move of the embassy during his visit to Israel and the West Bank in May. But most experts doubt Trump’s chances of reaching a peace deal, a goal that has long eluded former US presidents.
The status of Jerusalem is one of the main sticking points. Israel occupied East Jerusalem during the 1967 Middle East War and later annexed it in a move that did not win international recognition. Israel considers the city its undivided capital.