Palestinian officials were told that the Trump administration is in no rush to move the U.S. embassy from Jerusalem to Tel Aviv, according to reports in Israel’s Haaretz and the London Arabic newspaper Asharq Al-Awsat.
The assurances were reportedly a relief to the Palestinian leadership, which had warned that such a move would undermine negotiations over the final status issues in talks over a Palestinian state, and possibly lead to a violent flareup in the region.
An Israeli official told Army Radio that Israel understands that such a move could take time. Israel is “sitting in the bleachers,” Regional Cooperation Minister Tzachi Hanegbi said.
A Palestinian official later sought to deny the report that Ramallah had been told the move was on the back burner.
President Donald Trump had promised to make the embassy move a major priority in his first days in office, turning it into a campaign issue.
But he may be getting cold feet on the explosive issue.
Earlier in the week White House press secretary Sean Spicer said that the U.S. was in the “very early stages of that decision-making process” over the embassy move.
Contact Naomi Zeveloff at email@example.com
Naomi Zeveloff is the former Middle East correspondent of the Forward, primarily covering Israel and the Palestinian Territories.
Did Trump White House Tell Palestinians Embassy Isn’t Moving to Jerusalem Anytime Soon?