Trump expected to keep USA embassy in Tel Aviv - for now

The exterior of the US Embassy building in the Israeli city of Tel Aviv, on January 20, 2017. The most recent waiver, signed by Obama, expires on June 1. Absent such a waiver, the USA government would be obliged by Congress to start implementing such a move.

The same official said that while Trump may not authorize the move this week, the President still envisions moving the embassy at some point.

One official said that the relocation is "something the president supports, something he supported during the campaign, something he still supports. It will be when, not if".

The waiver is nearly certainly coming, with all the recent reports suggesting Trump was concerned a move would hurt the peace process, and intending to delay the matter, at least for awhile. "But it is a fact that the Israeli government's institutions are in Jerusalem ... and the typical definition of a capital is where this government is headquartered".

The battle for control over East Jerusalem is taking a serious turn with Israeli plans to completely change its demographic character and culture, director of the Arab Studies Society's Mapping Department Khalil Tafakji said on Tuesday. Israel declared the city its undivided capital but the Palestinians claim East Jerusalem as the capital of a future Palestinian state.

And Abbas has long said moving the embassy to Jerusalem could shatter chances for peace talks.

Trump, who became the first sitting US President to visit the Western Wall holy site in east Jerusalem, made no mention of the looming deadline during a visit to Israel last week despite mounting pressure on his White House to make clear its policy with regards to the ultra-sensitive status of Jerusalem.

Signing the waiver this week would forestall any move for another six months.

He seemingly backed off his promise early in his presidency.

Senior administration officials told CNN on Wednesday that Trump will follow the path of his predecessors and sign the biannual waiver on Thursday to postpone the implementation of the Jerusalem Embassy Act, which mandates that the embassy must be in Jerusalem.

  • Salvatore Jensen