ABOARD AIR FORCE ONE (Reuters) - President Donald Trump will not announce a decision on Monday on whether he will again delay moving the U.S. embassy in Israel to Jerusalem, a White House spokesman said, despite Monday’s deadline for doing so.
An announcement on the decision will be made “in coming days,” White House spokesman Hogan Gidley told reporters aboard Air Force One as Trump was returning from a trip to Utah.
Trump had been due to decide whether to sign a waiver that would hold off relocating the embassy from Tel Aviv for another six months, as every U.S. president has done since Congress passed a law on the issue in 1995.
Senior U.S. officials have said that Trump is expected to issue a temporary order, the second since he took office, to delay moving the embassy despite his campaign pledge to go ahead with the controversial action.
But the officials have said Trump is likely to give a speech on Wednesday unilaterally recognising Jerusalem as Israel’s capital, a step that would break with decades of U.S. policy and could fuel violence in the Middle East. They have said, however, that no final decisions have been made.
“The president has been clear on this issue from the get-go; that it’s not a matter of if, but a matter of when,” Gidley said.
The Palestinians want East Jerusalem as the capital of their future state, and the international community does not recognise Israel’s claim on all of the city, home to sites holy to the Jewish, Muslim and Christian religions.
Reporting by Roberta Rampton: writing by Matt Spetalnick and Eric Beech; Editing by Mohammad Zargham and Peter Cooney