US President Donald Trump said in an interview aired Saturday that he wanted to give peace between Israel and Palestine a chance before following through on his controversial election campaign promise of moving the US embassy from Tel Aviv to Jerusalem.
Despite repeatedly making the promise, in June, Trump signed a temporary order to keep the US embassy in Tel Aviv, a renewable six-month waiver that has been signed by every US President for the past two decades.
In an interview with former Arkansas Governor Mike Huckabee on the TBN program “Huckabee,” Trump noted his administration was working on a plan for peace between the two sides. He said:
I want to give that a shot before I even think about moving the embassy to Jerusalem…If we can make peace between the Palestinians and Israel, I think it’ll lead to ultimately peace in the Middle East, which has to happen
Asked if there was a timeframe for the embassy move, Trump said: “We’re going to make a decision in the not too distant future.”
If implemented, the move would be seen as the first step to a drastic abdication of longstanding US policy that has largely adhered to international standards on Israel-Palestine, which maintains that East Jerusalem is an intricate part of occupied Palestinian territory and the capital of any future Palestinian state, despite Israel’s annexation of the territory.
The fate of Jerusalem has been a focal point of the Israeli-Palestinian conflict for decades, with numerous tensions arising over Israeli threats regarding the status of non-Jewish religious sites in the city, and the “Judaisation” of East Jerusalem through settlement construction and mass demolitions of Palestinian homes.
Trump has repeatedly said peace between Israelis and Palestinians was something he could achieve as president. “I want to see peace with Israel and the Palestinians,” Trump said in April. “There is no reason there’s not peace between Israel and the Palestinians – none whatsoever.”
While Trump has maintained on many occasions that, under his auspices, the decades-long Palestinian-Israeli conflict will be solved, his administration has painted a rather unclear picture regarding Trump’s plans in the region, while a number of high-profile US officials are known to be staunch supporters of Israel.
Less than a week after Trump signed the waiver to delay the embassy move in June, the US Senate passed a resolution declaring Jerusalem the “undivided” capital of Israel.
In January, the US House of Representatives passed a resolution confirming US commitment as a diplomatic ally to the Israeli government, and demanded that the US government dismiss any future UN resolutions they deemed “anti-Israel,” following the passage of a UN Security Council resolution condemning Israel’s illegal settlement building in the occupied West Bank.