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The New Arab

Trump delays Jerusalem embassy move announcement

White House spokesperson says a decision will be announced "in coming days" [Getty]

Date of publication: 5 December, 2017

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American president Donald Trump has delayed his announcement due Monday on whether the US embassy will be moved to Jerusalem

President Donald Trump has delayed his decision on whether he will move the US embassy in Israel to Jerusalem, missing the deadline on Monday.

Hogan Gidley, the White House spokesman told reporters aboard Air Force One that a decision will be announced "in coming days" as Trump was returning from a trip to Utah.

During the American presidential election campaign last year, Trump expressed strong support for Israel, and promised to order the relocation of the US embassy from Tel Aviv to Jerusalem on his first day in office.

He has since delayed the move, and was expected on Monday to decide whether to sign a legal waiver delaying the embassy plans for a further six months, as every previous US president has done since 1995.

Senior US officials expect Trump to issue a temporary order to delay moving the embassy despite the campaign pledge.

Trump is also expected to announce on Wednesday whether he supports Israel’s claim on Jerusalem as its capital, with officials hinting at a strong likelihood, breaking with decades of US policy.

"The president has been clear on this issue from the get-go; that it’s not a matter of if, but a matter of when," Gidley said.

Palestinian officials are lobbying against such a move, while the Arab League chief Ahmed Abul Gheit said the shift in policy would boost violence while sinking hopes for peace.

The president has been clear on this issue from the get-go; that it’s not a matter of if, but a matter of when

But Jared Kushner, his son-in-law and Middle East envoy, made a rare public appearance to put an optimistic face on his efforts.

"The president's going to make his decision," Kushner told the Saban Forum, choosing not to deny reports Trump will declare Jerusalem Israel's capital on Wednesday.

"He's still looking at a lot of different facts and when he makes his decision he'll be the one who wants to tell you. So he'll make sure he does that at the right time."

Israel regards Jerusalem as its capital, a position nearly the entire world rejects saying its status should be determined in peace talks with the Palestinians.

Jerusalem is a key issue in the Israeli-Palestinian conflict, and many have warned against the far-reaching consequences of such a move. Muslim nations called yesterday for a summit should President Trump decide to recognise Jerusalem as Israel's capital.

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