President Trump will not yet move the U.S. embassy in Israel to Jerusalem -- at the least postponing an oft-repeated campaign pledge -- however, the White House said Thursday the delay was only in the interest of serving a possible peace deal and the move would happen eventually.
Trump signed the Jerusalem Recognition Act Waiver on Thursday morning, officially delaying the move of the U.S. Embassy from Tel Aviv.
“No one should consider this step to be in any way a retreat from the President's strong support for Israel and for the United States-Israel alliance,” the White House said in a statement. “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. But, as he has repeatedly stated his intention to move the embassy, the question is not if that move happens, but only when.”
A senior administration official told Fox News the White House was optimistic peace was possible in the long-running and seemingly unsolveable conflict, which has perplexed numerous administrations.
All parties in the region were notified the President would sign the waiver, a senior administration official told Fox News.
"Israel's consistent position is that the American embassy, like the embassies of all countries with whom we have diplomatic relations, should be in Jerusalem, our eternal capital," Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu said in a statement. "Maintaining embassies outside the capital drives peace further away by helping keep alive the Palestinian fantasy that the Jewish people and the Jewish state have no connection to Jerusalem. Though Israel is disappointed that the embassy will not move at this time, we appreciate today's expression of President Trump's friendship to Israel and his commitment to moving the embassy in the future."
Fox News’ John Roberts contributed to this report.