The White House seems to be backing off President Trump’s hard-and-fast commitment to move the U.S. embassy in Israel from Tel Aviv to Jerusalem.
White House Press Secretary Sean Spicer said on Monday that it wasn’t certain that Trump would follow through on his previous promise to move the embassy.
“If it was already a decision we wouldn’t be going through a process,” Spicer said when asked if the decision to move the embassy had definitely been made. “We’re at the very early stages of that decision-making process.”
That’s a lot less committal than months of promises Trump made as both a candidate and president-elect.
“We will move the American embassy to the eternal capital of the Jewish people, Jerusalem,” he declared in a speech to the American Israel Public Affairs Committee last year.
A 2013 photo of the U.S. Embassy in Tel Aviv.
When he was announced as Trump’s pick for U.S. ambassador to Israel in December, David Friedman said he looked “forward to doing this from the U.S. embassy in Israel’s eternal capital, Jerusalem.”
But while Israel would like to see the move, it would enrage many Arab leaders, including Palestinian officials, and many experts worry it could hurt any chances of reviving the peace process in the region.
Presidents Obama and George W. Bush also promised to move the embassy as candidates before deciding against it once in office.