Trump waives law requiring US move its embassy to Jerusalem

Trump avoided a step that threatened to inflame tensions across the Middle East and undermine a push for peace before it even started.

The White House said Trump made the decision to "maximize" the chances of negotiating a peace deal between Israelis and Palestinians, a decades-old diplomatic stalemate that Trump wants to help resolve.

The US said its policy on Jerusalem has not changed and that Jerusalem's status must be negotiated between Israelis and Palestinians. As president, Trump has proceeded cautiously, hoping to preserve his ability to serve as an effective mediator for one of the world's most intractable conflicts. To not recognize Jerusalem as the capital of Israel contradicts the Bible, history, present-day reality, and is anti-Semitic.

Trump was under pressure not to move the embassy by Arab and European leaders who felt it would hinder peace talks with the Palestinians, who claim Jerusalem as the capital of a future Palestinian state.

Shortly after the White House announced that US President Donald Trump had signed the order rejecting the transfer of the American embassy to Jerusalem, the Israeli prime minister's office was quick to respond and said Thursday that Israel's consistent position was that the American embassy should be in Jerusalem, the eternal capital of Israel.

"The time has come to put an end to this farce", Steinitz told Army Radio.

Moving the embassy is "something the President supports, something he supported during the campaign, something he still supports", the official said.

Earlier today, Trump signed the waiver postponing the move of the U.S. Embassy in Israel to Jerusalem on Thursday, meaning that the embassy will remain in Tel Aviv for now. But the president can waive the law if asserting that a waiver is in USA national security interests. Presidents of both parties have renewed the waiver every six months for years. "They thought it is not going to happen". But he has since downplayed the urgency and raised questions about not wanting to hinder Israeli-Palestinian negotiations. Both sides stake claims.

Trump has yet to make his decision official but is required by law to act by Friday, according to one US official who spoke on condition of anonymity. It later annexed east Jerusalem in a move never recognised by the worldwide community.

"President Trump must not follow in the footsteps of previous presidents and sign the Jerusalem Embassy Act waiver", said Mat Staver, Founder and Chairman of Liberty Counsel, President of Christians in Defense of Israel, and Founder and Chairman of Covenant Journey. "You talked there about your commitment to peace, but the Israelis showed me your involvement in incitement", Trump reportedly yelled at Abbas during the May 23 meeting, making it hard to get back to business during Trump's whirlwind visit to the area.

The decision was expected, and comes after he returned from a week-long trip overseas that included stops in Israel and the West Bank. Without its renewal, the USA government would have been legally obligated to proceed with moving the embassy. Government spokesman Mohammed Momani said Jordan welcomed Trump's decision and believed it sent an important message.

A senior Israeli official is expressing disappointment over Trump's decision against relocating the embassy to Jerusalem and is accusing the US of caving in to Arab pressure.

But many expect that the long-awaited move will still occur and seem to give him the benefit of the doubt on the need to at least delay relocating the USA mission to Jerusalem given the realities of peacemaking in the Middle East.