State Department: No decision yet on embassy

State Department spokeswoman says Trump hasn't yet decided whether to sign waiver delaying embassy move to Jerusalem.

Elad Benari,

Current location of the United States Embassy in Tel Aviv
Current location of the United States Embassy in Tel Aviv
Flash 90

The State Department clarified on Thursday that no decision had yet been made on moving the U.S. Embassy in Israel from Tel Aviv to Jerusalem.

“No decision has been made on that matter yet. My understanding is that the waiver is actually due to Congress by December 4th,” State Department spokeswoman Heather Nauert told reporters in her daily press briefing, when asked whether President Donald Trump is going to sign a waiver delaying the embassy move for another six months.

“The President has said that he has given serious consideration to the matter, and we’re looking at it with great care. That’s all I have for you on that,” she added.

The remarks followed reports in Israel that senior officials in Jerusalem said that the Israeli government expected an announcement from the White House in the coming days, announcing the embassy move and the formation of a special team to implement the move.

White House press secretary Sarah Huckabee Sanders later denied that any such announcement was imminent.

"This is a premature report,” said Huckabee Sanders. “We have nothing to announce.”

Earlier on Thursday, a senior U.S. administration official said that Trump is considering recognizing Jerusalem as the capital of the State of Israel without moving the embassy to the Israeli capital, at least for the time being.

Trump wants the recognition of Jerusalem to be a gift to Israel on the occasion of its 70th Independence Day, and he may even announce this recognition by means of a statement to be made by Vice President Mike Pence, who will visit Israel in December.

However, the official noted, this move does not indicate that the president does not intend to sign the waiver postponing the embassy move from Tel Aviv to Jerusalem for six months, as every president has done since 1995, when Congress passed the Jerusalem Embassy Act, requiring the president to move the embassy to Israel’s capital.

Under the law, the president may delay implementation of the act for security reasons, renewing the waiver every six months.


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