Why is Trump still signing waivers for US embassy?

Seven months after moving US embassy in Israel from Tel Aviv to Jerusalem, Trump is still signing waivers. US officials explain why.

Nitsan Keidar ,

Opening ceremony of US embassy in Jerusalem
Opening ceremony of US embassy in Jerusalem
Yonatan Sindel/Flash90

In 1995, Congress passed the Jerusalem Embassy Act (JEA), requiring the executive branch to relocate the US embassy in Israel from Tel Aviv to Jerusalem by May 31st, 1999, and to officially recognize the city as Israel’s capital.

Since 1999, however, successive administrations have utilized a security waiver, enabling them to delay implementation of the JEA.

On December 6th 2017, President Trump announced plans to implement his campaign promise of relocating the US embassy to Jerusalem. On May 14th, the embassy was formally moved to an American compound in Jerusalem, which had previously served as a consular facility.

Despite the embassy transfer, however, President Trump renewed the security waiver, renewed every six months, to block an automatic funding restriction in the JEA.

Why does the White House still need the waiver after the move was completed? An embassy official told Arutz Sheva that without the formal transfer of the ambassador’s residence, the embassy move remains technically incomplete, according to the language of the JEA.

“The administration was proud to open our U.S. Embassy to Israel in Jerusalem earlier this year on May 14,” said the embassy official.

“‎The definition of U.S. Embassy in the Jerusalem Embassy Act, however, includes both the offices of the diplomatic mission and the residence of the Chief of Mission. The memorandum from the President acknowledges that a waiver of the Act’s funding restriction is still necessary until the technicality of the Chief of Mission residence can be addressed.”