President Donald Trump signed on Thursday a waiver that delays moving the US embassy to Jerusalem from Tel Aviv.
In a Presidential memorandum to the Secretary of State, Trump said that the decision was, “necessary, in order to protect the national security interests of the United States, to suspend for a period of 6 months the limitations set forth in sections 3(b) and 7(b),” of the Jerusalem Embassy Act of 1995.
The Jerusalem Embassy Act is a law passed by the 104th Congress on October 23, 1995 aimed at initiating and funding the relocation of the US Embassy in Israel from Tel Aviv to Jerusalem. Presidents Clinton, Bush, and Obama all claimed a presidential waiver for the move, citing national security interests.
The White House was quick to say that Trump’s decision should not be interpreted as the President backing off earlier promises to relocate the US embassy.
“While President Donald J. Trump signed the waiver under the Jerusalem Embassy Act and delayed moving the US Embassy in Israel from Tel Aviv to Jerusalem, no one should consider this step to be in any way a retreat from the President’s strong support for Israel and for the United States-Israel alliance,” the White House said in a statement.
According to the White House, “President Trump made this decision to maximize the chances of successfully negotiating a deal between Israel and the Palestinians, fulfilling his solemn obligation to defend America’s national security interests.”
The statement concluded that Trump remains firm in his intention to move the embassy. “The question is not if that move happens, but only when.”