White House: Reports of Israel embassy move are ‘premature’

The Embassy of the United States of America in Tel Aviv, June 14, 2016. (Flash90)

The Embassy of the United States of America in Tel Aviv, June 14, 2016. (Flash90)

WASHINGTON (JTA) – The White House labeled as “premature” a report in the Israeli media that U.S. President Donald Trump was set to move the U.S. Embassy to Jerusalem.

“We have nothing to announce,” a White House official told JTA on Wednesday.

Trump has until this weekend to issue a waiver suspending for six months a 1995 law that mandates moving the embassy to Jerusalem from Tel Aviv. Every president, including Trump in June, has signed the waiver every six months since the law’s passage.

Israel’s Channel 2 quoted Israeli government officials as saying they anticipated that Trump would not sign the waiver and the embassy would soon move.

Trump had campaigned on moving the embassy but backpedaled once he assumed office after representations by Jordan’s King Abdullah, who argued that a move would be disruptive and dangerous. Abdullah is in Washington, D.C., this week meeting with government officials.

Vice-President Mike Pence told a pro-Israel event on Tuesday that Trump was “actively considering when and how” to move the embassy.

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