Obama signs waiver to keep US Embassy in Tel Aviv

Obama signs waiver to keep US Embassy in Tel Aviv

Fri Dec 2, 2016 7:43AM

US President Barack Obama has renewed a presidential waiver ordering the US Embassy in Israel to remain in Tel Aviv and not be moved to Jerusalem al-Quds, despite pressure by Congress and Israel to do so.

The outgoing president signed the waiver on Thursday, as he has every six months during his administration, in accordance with every other president over the last 20 years.

A White House statement said waiving the Jerusalem Embassy Act, which was passed by Congress in 1995, was necessary “to protect the national security interests of the United States.”

The law, which has never been implemented, was passed for the purposes of initiating and funding the relocation of the US Embassy in Israel from Tel Aviv to Jerusalem al-Quds.

US President-elect Donald Trump vowed during his presidential campaign that he would move the US Embassy to Jerusalem al-Quds, a step that would enrage Palestinians and create an international furor.

Former US Presidents Bill Clinton and George W. Bush promised the same thing during their presidential campaigns in order to court pro-Israel voters, but later reversed their proposals.

Most of the world does not recognize Jerusalem al-Quds as Israel’s capital and the city is considered occupied territory.

Palestinians are seeking to create an independent state on the territories of the West Bank, East al-Quds and the Gaza Strip, with East al-Quds as the capital. They are also demanding that Israel withdraw from the Palestinian lands occupied in a 1967 war. The Tel Aviv regime, however, has refused to return to the 1967 borders and is unwilling to discuss the issue of al-Quds.

Obama has decided to abandon any last-ditch effort to push for peace negotiations between the Israelis and Palestinians during his last weeks in the White House, the AP reported Thursday, citing Obama administration officials.

The officials, who spoke on the condition of anonymity, said that Obama had been considering using the United Nations to pressure Israel for a future peace deal.

The last round of the so-called peace talks sponsored by the US stalled in 2014, with Palestinians blaming Israel’s illegal settlement-building in the occupied West Bank and East Jerusalem al-Quds, among the territories where they seek an independent state.