Trump team, Israeli officials renew talks on moving US embassy

Updated on : Aug 28,2017   3:04 pm

Tel Aviv, Aug 28 (IANS) Senior members of Donald Trump's administration and Israeli officials renewed talks over the possibility of moving the US embassy from Tel Aviv to Jerusalem, a promise made by the US President during his election campaign, the media reported.

Trump's son-in-law and senior White House adviser Jared Kushner, peace envoy Jason Greenblatt and Deputy National Security Adviser for Strategy Dina Powell met Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu here on August 24 as part of a visit to the region in a bid to revive Israeli-Palestinian peace efforts.

In the meeting, the embassy move "was brought up by both sides as part of a productive broad conversation about a number of issues", a US source familiar with the discussions told The Times of Israel on Sunday night.

But Trump backtracked on the pledge in June, signing a waiver which pushed off moving the embassy for at least another six months.

"Needless to say, the administration's policy is 'when not if,'" the source added, referring to statements the US officials made when signing the waiver promising that the move would take place during Trump's presidency.

Earlier on Sunday, Deputy Foreign Minister Tzipi Hotovely told The Times of Israel that the issue did not come up during last week's meetings.

"We were told that the move (of the embassy) would go ahead but it wasn't on the table and there hasn't been any progress on it. I hope there will be soon."

When Trump signed the waiver, White House officials said that moving the embassy at this stage could jeopardise efforts to bring the two sides together.

Israel captured East Jerusalem and the West Bank from Jordan during the 1967 Six Day War and later annexed it.

Israel declared the city its undivided capital, but the Palestinians claim East Jerusalem as the capital of a future Palestinian state.

The US has said that its policy on Jerusalem has not changed and that Jerusalem's status must be negotiated between Israelis and Palestinians.