Israeli officials expect President Donald Trump to announce plans to relocate the US Embassy in Israel from Tel Aviv to Jerusalem in the coming days, and to officially recognize Jerusalem as the capital of the Jewish state.
According to a report by Channel 2, senior Israeli officials have claimed that the Israeli government expects an announcement from the president in the coming days regarding the Israeli capital, following a comment by Vice President Mike Pence at a special event in Manhattan on Tuesday.
Speaking at an event hosted by the Israeli mission to the United Nations to mark the 70th anniversary of the historic United Nations General Assembly vote on Resolution 181, endorsing the establishment of a Jewish state, Pence said that the president is “actively considering” moving the embassy, calling it a matter of “when and how”.
"President Donald Trump is actively considering when and how to move the American embassy in Israel from Tel Aviv to Jerusalem," Pence said.
Senior officials in Jerusalem told Channel 2, President Trump is expected to authorize the relocating of the embassy even before his administration presents its plans for a regional peace deal.
The sources claim that Trump has resolved not to renew a waiver allowing the embassy to remain in Tel Aviv.
In 1995, Congress passed the Jerusalem Embassy Act, requiring the president to move the US embassy to Israel’s capital.
The law, which was signed by President Clinton, despite his own opposition to the bill, after it passed with broad bipartisan support.
Under the law, the president may delay implementation of the act for security reasons, renewing the waiver every six months.
Unconfirmed reports claim that President Trump is set to announce the formation of a special team to implement the embassy move.
Earlier this month, US Ambassador to Israel David Friedman reiterated his belief that President Trump would in fact relocate the embassy, calling the move a matter of ‘when, not if’.
"The president has also made clear that he intends to move the United States embassy from Tel Aviv to Jerusalem. It is not a question of if, it is a question of when. And I take the president at his word, and I'm personally committed to do all that I can to advocate for this move."