President Barack Obama, assisted by Deputy Staff Secretary Ted Chiodo, signs bills in the Oval Office.
(photo credit: OFFICIAL WHITE HOUSE PHOTO / PETE SOUZA)
US President Barack Obama invoked a waiver on Wednesday postponing the relocation of the American embassy to Jerusalem for at least another six months.
Despite Congressional legislation mandating that the US move its mission to the Israeli capital, successive administrations dating back to the Clinton regime have used presidential authority to postpone implementation of the law by citing “national security interests.”
Jerusalem is not recognized as Israel’s capital, and the international community’s position is that its status is to be negotiated in talks between Israel and the Palestinians. Israel's annexation of the eastern half of the capital is also not recognized internationally.
The Palestinians seek a state with east Jerusalem as its capital, while Israel's official position is to keep the city united under its sovereignty.
US candidates often express their intention to move the embassy to Jerusalem from its current location in Tel Aviv, only to invoke the presidential waiver upon entering office.
Jeb Bush, a likely candidate for the Republican nomination for president in 2016, expressed support on Saturday for Jerusalem remaining undivided as Israel’s capital and for moving Washington’s embassy to the historic city.
Asked in Nashville whether Jerusalem should remain Israel’s capital “forever” – as is the policy of the Netanyahu government – Bush said, “I support that, absolutely.”
They were his first comments on the issue since he began exploring a run for the presidency. Bush plans to formally announce whether he will run by the end of June.