White House reiterates Trump's support for strong US-Israel alliance

Ashley Carr
June 2, 2017

This morning the White House announced that the president has again waived the law passed by Congress in 1995 calling on him to move the US Embassy to Jerusalem.

The American leader faced a Thursday deadline to renew the waiver or see the State Department lose half its funding for its overseas facilities. The Jewish state has long urged the US and others to build embassies in Jerusalem, to reflect Israel's claim to the holy city as its capital.

Trump didn't give details on what his vision for a breakthrough in peace talks might look like, but notably didn't publicly push either side for concessions.

Trump however pledged to move the embassy to Jerusalem during his campaign and recognise the city as Israel's capital. However, Nathan Thrall, the International Crisis Group's senior analyst on Israel/Palestine, speculated that Netanyahu may actually want the embassy to remain in Tel Aviv for now.

The 1995 Jerusalem Embassy Act stated that the US recognized Jerusalem as the Israeli capital, requiring the USA embassy to move there from Tel Aviv. In a statement, the White House said Trump signed the waiver to "maximize the chances of successfully negotiating a deal between Israel and the Palestinians".

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The London-based pan-Arab newspaper Al Araby, or The New Arab, which has editions in both Arabic and English, reported on Wednesday that Abbas acknowledged the previous day during a meeting of the Palestine Liberation Organization's executive committee that his meeting with Trump was "uncomfortable", citing unnamed sources present at the meeting. Trump had said as a candidate that the Paris climate accord, signed by almost 200 countries in 2015, would cause job losses in the U.S. The U.S. government, as a result, does not officially recognize Jerusalem as Israel's capital. Since 1999, the deadline of the original act, every U.S. president has singed the waiver every six months.

The controversial election campaign promise was condemned by most of the worldwide community, as well as Palestinians and liberal Israeli circles, which view Israel's annexation of the east side of the city as illegal.

Opposition leader Isaac Herzog (Zionist Camp) also responded to the signing of the order and said that the transfer of the USA embassy, as well as any other embassy to Jerusalem, was a matter of request: "Unfortunately, Netanyahu learned another lesson today, that there are no shortcuts and anyone who wants global recognition must reach a courageous political understanding", said Herzog.

But since coming to office in January, Trump has met with both Israeli and Palestinian leaders in Washington and in a visit to the region last week and has committed himself to seeking a long-elusive final peace deal between them.

"Peace can never take root in an environment where violence is tolerated, funded and even rewarded", Trump said.

Other reports by My Hot News

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