Donald Trump edges closer to moving U.S. embassy in Israel to Jerusalem

President Donald Trump is likely to announce next week that the United States recognizes Jerusalem as Israel's capital a senior administration official said on Friday. He is seen with Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu in May

President Donald Trump faces a Monday deadline to decide whether or not to sign another six-month waiver of a 1995 law that mandates the embassy move, according to the State Department.

White House officials, who spoke to the press on condition of anonymity, suggested Thursday that an announcement would be made early next week.

A senior administration official said Mr Trump will likely waive the requirement again in coming days, but that he is considering what other steps he might take at the same time, such as declaring Jerusalem the capital of Israel.

The Palestinians want East Jerusalem as the capital of their future state, and the global community does not recognise Israel's claim on the entire city.

In a move that comes as the president appears to be delaying a decision on moving the USA embassy from Tel Aviv to Jerusalem, officials suggested Trump may instead recognize Jerusalem as Israel's capital in order to demonstrate a commitment to his campaign pledge.

As the Trump Administration is reportedly preparing to launch its Israeli-Palestinian peace plan, this dramatic change in the status quo is nearly certain to derail peace efforts and trigger violence.

Trump could make the controversial declaration in a speech on Wednesday though he is also expected to again delay his campaign promise to move the U.S. embassy to Jerusalem from Tel Aviv
Donald Trump edges closer to moving U.S. embassy in Israel to Jerusalem

It could, however, help satisfy the pro-Israel, right-wing base that helped him win the presidency and also please the Israeli government, a close United States ally.

Moving the US embassy in Israel, if it's given a green light, will not be a quick process, sources said.

"No decision on this matter has been made yet", State Department spokesman Heather Nauert said Thursday.

Discussing the issue, Mike Pence this week said Trump was "actively considering when and how" to move the embassy, with the vice president possibly making an announcement on the decision to recognize Jerusalem as Israel's capital during his visit to Israel in December. Jerusalem should indeed be recognized as Israel's capital, but only in the context of a peace agreement between Israel and the Palestinians.

However, if Mr Trump decides to declare Jerusalem as Israel's capital, even without ordering an embassy move, it would be certain to spark an global uproar.

Israel captured Arab East Jerusalem during the 1967 Middle East war and later annexed it, a move not recognised internationally.

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