The list of campaign promise reversals continues to grow as The FT reports President Donald Trump has decided not to move the US embassy in Israel from Tel Aviv to Jerusalem, in a major reversal of one of his foreign policy campaign pledges.
During the presidential campaign Mr Trump repeatedly vowed to move the US embassy to Jerusalem despite concerns that it would exacerbate tensions between Israel and the Arab world.
Washington's embassy is in Tel Aviv, as are most foreign diplomatic posts. Israel calls Jerusalem its eternal capital, but Palestinians also lay claim to the city as part of an eventual Palestinian state. Both sides cite biblical, historical and political claims. The U.S. Congress passed a law in 1995 describing Jerusalem as capital of Israel and saying it should not be divided, but successive Republican and Democratic presidents have used their foreign policy powers to maintain the U.S. Embassy in Tel Aviv and to back negotiations between Israel and the Palestinians on the status of Jerusalem.
As we noted previously, any decision to break with the status quo is likely to prompt protests from U.S. allies in the Middle East such as Saudi Arabia, Jordan and Egypt. Bill Clinton, George W Bush and Barack Obama all signed repeated six-month waivers postponing the move for national security reasons.
>@realDonaldTrump is in the same place on US embassy in israel as most D and R presidents. says he'll move in campaign, backtracks in office
— Jake Sherman (@JakeSherman) June 1, 2017
No countries currently have their embassy to Israel in Jerusalem.
So, first China currency manipulation, then Yellen's future, followed by Ex-Im Bank, and NATO, and now, Mr Trump on Thursday followed the path of his predecessors in the Oval Office by taking action to circumvent a Congressional mandate to move the embassy to Jerusalem.
Trump offered no hints at his decision last week on his visit to Israel with his 'old friend' Bibi…
But we do note that he (reportedly) was angry at Palestine's Abbas for "lying."
The White House said in a statement that the decision was made to “maximise the chances of successfully negotiating a deal between Israel and the Palestinians”.
“While President Donald J. Trump signed the waiver under the Jerusalem Embassy Act and delayed moving the U.S. Embassy in Israel from Tel Aviv to Jerusalem, no one should consider this step to be in any way a retreat from the President’s strong support for Israel and for the United States-Israel alliance,” the White House added.
So Saudis 1 – 0 Bibi?
Maybe not, as Axios notes, a source who has been in the process for multiple presidents told Axios, this is Trump defaulting to the status quo. Bureaucrats brief a new president, show them the doomsday forecast of riots, broken peace deals, new security requirements and other issues, and presidents back off. etc.