President TrumpDonald TrumpJan. 6 panel faces double-edged sword with Alex Jones, Roger Stone Trump goes after Woodward, Costa over China Republicans seem set to win the midterms — unless they defeat themselves MORE on Wednesday renewed a waiver that will temporarily keep the U.S. embassy in Israel in Tel Aviv, instead of moving it to Jerusalem, the White House said.
The decision breaks a promise Trump made during last year’s presidential campaign to move the embassy, and could anger some of his supporters in Israel and the U.S.
The 1995 Jerusalem Embassy Act requires the American embassy to move to Jerusalem, but every president since then has signed a six-month waiver delaying the decision.
Trump waited until the June 1 deadline to renew the waiver, underscoring the difficulty of the choice.
The White House said in a statement that “no one should consider this step to be in any way a retreat from the president's strong support for Israel.”
“President Trump made this decision to maximize the chances of successfully negotiating a deal between Israel and the Palestinians, fulfilling his solemn obligation to defend America's national security interests,” the White House said.
“But, as he has repeatedly stated his intention to move the embassy, the question is not if that move happens, but only when."
Making such a move now would throw a wrench into Trump’s efforts to help broker a peace deal between the Israelis and the Palestinians, a major focus of his first foreign trip.
Trump met with both Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu and Palestinian President Mahmoud Abbas during his Middle East tour.
“We know that peace is possible if we put aside the pain and disagreements of the past and commit together to finally resolving this crisis," Trump during a speech in Jerusalem.
The final status of Jerusalem has long been a major sticking point in peace talks.
Israel sees Jerusalem, home to some of the holiest sites in the Jewish religion, as its undivided capital, but the Palestinians want East Jerusalem as the capital of a future, independent state.
The U.S. does not recognize Jerusalem as the capital of Israel and presidents in both political parties have said its final status should be decided in peace negotiations.
Because of that, the U.S. and other nations keep their embassies in Tel Aviv, Israel's financial center.
Trump's decision might upset some prominent supporters, including GOP mega-donor Sheldon Adelson, who have pushed him to fulfill his promise to move the embassy and recognize Jerusalem as Israel's capital.
- This story was updated at 10:32 a.m.