President Donald Trump’s Middle East envoys and Israeli officials renewed discussion of moving the US embassy from Tel Aviv to Jerusalem in high-level meetings last week, the Times of Israel reported Sunday.
In the region for another push to restart peace talks between Israel and the Palestinians, White House adviser and Trump son-in-law Jared Kushner, peace envoy Jason Greenblatt and Deputy National Security Adviser for Strategy Dina Powell met with Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu on Thursday. Among the topics discussed, said a US source, was the highly-anticipated embassy move.
Relocating the American embassy in Israel from its current location in Tel Aviv to Jerusalem, the country’s capital, was one of Trump’s major campaign platforms. However, the promise was not fulfilled after Trump took office, and when a waiver delaying the embassy move for another six months came due in June, Trump signed it, to the disappointment of many.
But the Trump administration has repeatedly assured its supporters that the president fully intends to move the embassy during his time in office.
In the latest round of talks, the move “was brought up by both sides as part of a productive broad conversation about a number of issues,” the Times of Israel quoted a source familiar with the discussions as saying.
The Prime Minister’s Office confirmed after the meeting that the topic had been discussed, but did not comment on details.
Relocating the embassy, which would mean recognizing Jerusalem as Israel’s capital – something the US has yet to officially do – is seen as a highly controversial move which could jeopardize the resumption of peace talks. Trump was dissuaded from making the move after discussions with his security team convinced him to hold off in hopes of achieving a larger peace agreement.
Trump officials say that it’s just a matter of time. In July, Vice President Mike Pence, speaking to a gathering of 4,000 pro-Israel evangelical Christians in Washington, declared, “I promise you that the day will come when President Donald Trump moves the American Embassy from Tel Aviv to Jerusalem. It is not a question of if, it is only when.”