Mideast Daily News

Under Pressure, Trump Delays Jerusalem Embassy Decision

By Charles Bybelezer | The Media Line

December 5, 2017

A view of Jerusalem's old city with the Dome of the Rock Mosque known to the Muslims as Haram al-Sharif, the Noble Sanctuary and to the Jews as the Temple Mount (Photo: GALI TIBBON/AFP/Getty Images)

A Monday deadline came and passed for U.S. President Donald Trump to sign a waiver to postpone for another six months the relocation of the American Embassy in Tel Aviv to Jerusalem. A 1995 U.S. law stipulates that the mission be moved to what Israel considers its capital city unless the president deems doing so a threat to national security. According to reports, Trump is still expected to sign the waiver, begrudgingly, although rumors abound about the possibility that he may “split the difference” by formally recognizing Jerusalem as Israel’s capital. It comes amid a major diplomatic offensive by Arab and European countries, which have uniformly warned that any change to Jerusalem’s status could ignite violence throughout the Middle East. At least two classified cables have been sent to American embassies and consulates in the region warning of the potential danger and advising they ramp up security. The Palestinian Authority has threatened to torpedo the peace process in any such eventuality, just as the White House is devising a plan to jump-start negotiations. The Palestinians seek to establish an independent state in the West Bank and Gaza Strip with east Jerusalem as its capital. By contrast, Israeli officials, including Jerusalem Mayor Nir Barkat and Defense Minister Avigdor Liberman have publicly lobbied the U.S. administration to go ahead with the move, with the latter affirming that the Jewish state “know[s] how to deal with all the ramifications” of any American policy shift. Trump is expected to announce his decision in a speech tentatively scheduled for Wednesday.

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