x Abu Dhabi, UAEWednesday 13 December 2017

Trump says will not move US embassy to Jerusalem for now

The comments come despite a campaign promise Mr Trump made to move the mission to Jerusalem

US president Donald Trump (left) and White House senior adviser Jared Kushner meet with Israeli prime minister Benjamin Netanyahu (right) at the King David Hotel in Jerusalem on May 22, 2017. Kobi Gideon / GPO via Getty Images
US president Donald Trump (left) and White House senior adviser Jared Kushner meet with Israeli prime minister Benjamin Netanyahu (right) at the King David Hotel in Jerusalem on May 22, 2017. Kobi Gideon / GPO via Getty Images

US President Donald Trump said he will not go ahead with his controversial pledge to move the American embassy to Jerusalem until after pushing for an Israeli-Palestinian peace deal.

In June, Mr Trump signed a temporary order to keep the US embassy in Tel Aviv, despite a campaign promise he made to move it to Jerusalem.

"I wanna give that a shot before I even think about moving the embassy to Jerusalem," Mr Trump said on former governor Mike Huckabee's TV show on Saturday.

He was referring to efforts to forge a peace between the two sides that has eluded career diplomats for decades.

"We're gonna make a decision in the not too distant future," Mr Trump said, but for now, the peace push comes first.

“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,” he added.

That push is one of the various portfolios Mr Trump gave his son-in-law Jared Kushner, a 36-year-old with no prior government experience who became one of the most powerful men in Washington by virtue of his family connection to the president.

Foreign countries currently have their embassies in the Israeli commercial capital Tel Aviv since they do not recognise Israel's claim of control over all of Jerusalem.

Israel occupied east Jerusalem and the West Bank in 1967 and annexed east Jerusalem in a move never recognized by the international community.

It claims all of Jerusalem as its united capital, while the Palestinians see the eastern sector as the capital of their future state.

The issue is among the most contentious in the Israeli-Palestinian conflict.

The US Congress passed a law in 1995 making it policy to move the embassy to Jerusalem, symbolically endorsing Israel’s claim on the city as its capital.

But the law contained a clause that has allowed each president since to issue and renew a six-month waiver on carrying out the move.