Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu's Office denied on Wednesday reports that it had received notice that US President Donald Trump has decided not to move the American Embassy in Israel from Tel Aviv to Jerusalem. "Israel's position is that all embassies, particularly the US embassy, should be in Israel's capital - Jerusalem," the Prime Minister's Office said in a statement.
Earlier in the day, Israeli outlet NRG cited unnamed sources as saying the White House had relayed the decision about scrapping plans for the controversial move to the government in Jerusalem. It remains to be seen whether Trump will make any announcement on his campaign pledge of moving the US embassy during his first visit as president to Israel and the Palestinian territories on May 22-23.Palestinian and Arab leaders have warned the US against the move, saying it would trigger violence in Israel and elsewhere.The US Congress passed a law in 1995 mandating the move of the embassy to Jerusalem, but allowed the president a waiver. Each president since then has routinely exercised the waiver, citing the national security interests of the United States.In early March, an official United States delegation led by Congressman Ron DeSantis (R-FL) briefly visited Israel to study the possibility of relocating the American embassy.While Trump had promised to relocate the embassy during his run for the White House, since his January 20 inauguration, his lukewarm statements about the matter led many to speculate that he would not make good on his pledge.JTA and Michael Wilner contributed to this report.
Pence: Trump seriously considering moving US embassy to Jerusalem (credit: REUTERS)