Trump mulling relocation of US embassy from Tel Aviv to Jerusalem, says VP Pence

  • Trump had pledged to shift the embassy but he signed a waiver on June 1 blocking the move
  • POTUS will have to again decide in December whether to relocate the embassy

WASHINGTON – US President Donald Trump is actively considering when and how to move the US embassy in Israel from Tel Aviv to Jerusalem, his vice president Michael Pence said on Tuesday.

Pence’s comment that are likely to spark controversy came at an event organised by the Israeli mission at the UN to mark 70 years since the passing of UN Resolution that paved the way for Israel’s creation by calling for the partition of Mandatory Palestine into a Jewish and Arab state.

‘Israel didn’t need a resolution to call for its existence because its right to exist is self-evident, and timeless,’ Pence said.

‘While Israel was built by human hands, it’s impossible not to see the hand of heaven here, too’ Pence added as he addressed UN ambassadors, diplomats and Jewish leaders.

Although Trump expressed support for moving the embassy during his presidential campaign but did not renew the call ever since he assumed the office, however, in October, Trump said he wants to give peace a chance, before deciding whether the US embassy in Israel should be relocated to Jerusalem.

Referring to the peace deal, Trump said he wants to ‘give that a shot before I even think about moving the embassy to Jerusalem’.

‘Right now we are actually working on a plan that everybody says will never work because for many, many years it never worked – they say it’s the toughest deal of all, peace between Israel and the Palestinians,’ Trump had said.

Despite Trump’s pledge to shift the embassy, he signed a waiver on June 1 blocking the move.

At the time of the waiver signing, the White House had stated that the President ‘made this decision to maximize the chances of successfully negotiating a deal between Israel and the Palestinians, fulfilling his solemn obligation to defend America’s national security interests.’

The unexpected comments could be perceived as a hint for the possible move as in early December, Trump will have to again decide whether to postpone the move for another six months or not.

What would ignite the debate provided the US relocates its embassy is that Tel Aviv is a city in Israel, however, Jerusalem is claimed both by Palestine and Israel.

Israel’s Establishment

The UN General Assembly on November 29, 1947 passed a resolution adopting a plan on partitioning British-mandated Palestine to establish a Jewish state.

As many as 56 members of the UN at that time were consulted for the plan. Among those, 33 voted in favor, 13 against and 10 did not took any position, enabling the establishment of Israel the following year.

Congress’ Ratification of Israel

In 1995, Congress passed a law making it US policy to move the embassy to Jerusalem, endorsing Israel’s claim on the city as its capital.

Despite the ratification, every president since 1999, from Clinton to Bush to Obama to Trump, has declined to shift the embassy. Some of them have promised, as candidates, to make the move, but none have followed through.

The political observers are keeping an eye on Donald Trump whether he would finally take the initiative or follow his predecessors.