The US embassy has not been moved to Jerusalem following an Israeli request to keep it in Tel Aviv, a senior Israeli official has said.
Many believed that it was the Trump administration that was delaying the move but the Knesset Speaker has said that Israeli officials asked US President Donald Trump to wait with the move: "They asked that he wait, go slowly – and that's what he did."
Israeli newspaper Arutz Sheva, reported the comment made by the Knesset Speaker Yuli Edelstein this morning about the delayed transfer of the American embassy to Jerusalem.
Edelstein told Army Radio:
It had been the intention of the new administration in Washington to declare the transfer of the embassy at the very beginning of [Trump's term in office], but for understandable reasons officials here in our area requested that the president wait, go slowly – and that's what he did.
It was also reported that the chairman of the Republican Party in Israel, Marc Zell, hinted that Jerusalem prefers that the embassy remain in Tel Aviv at the moment. "There are still requests from officials in Israel not to announce a transfer of the embassy to Jerusalem," he said.
In the past, Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu had rejected all claims that Israel was the one delaying the embassy move. "I want to make it absolutely clear that our policy was, and is, that the US embassy needs to be here in Jerusalem," he had said in January.
"Jerusalem is the capital of Israel, and we not only want the US embassy to be here, but the embassies of all countries. I believe that, with time, this will, indeed, happen."
The announcement to move the embassy has come under universal condemnation. European Union states have said that they will not move their embassies from Tel Aviv to Israeli-occupied Jerusalem, which Palestinians want as the capital of their future state, while warning of the consequences of the move.
Arab countries are also strongly against the move, threatening to close their embassies if the US went ahead with Trump's election promise.