A senior U.S. administration official said on Thursday that President Donald 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, 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 US 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.
Pence addressed the embassy issue this week, saying Trump was considering when to follow up on his campaign promise to relocate the embassy in Israel to Jerusalem.
The vice president’s comments were made during the keynote address at an event in the old United Nations General Assembly hall in New York Tuesday.
On Wednesday, Hahadashot (formerly Channel 2 News) reported 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.”