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Digital Subscriptions > Newsweek International > 10 February 2017 > LOCATION, LOCATION, LOCATION


Why Trump won’t move the U.S. Embassy in Israel to Jerusalem—at least for now


TRUMP’S NEW DEAL? Donald Trump and his team are looking into a broader Middle East peace effort but one that might not mean an agreement with Palestinians.

ON THE south side of Jerusalem, an open field that once served as a British military encampment has stood unoccupied for more than two decades. In the spring, Arab shepherds often graze their sheep on the low scrub grass. In 1995, the Israeli government set aside the nearly eight acres of land for the new U.S. Embassy after Congress passed a law requiring the U.S. to move it from Tel Aviv to Israel’s capital. Ever since, however, every American president—both Republican and Democrat—has invoked a waiver that postpones the move, sobered by the impact it would have on the Middle East and U.S. national security.

President Donald Trump, who promised repeatedly on the campaign trail to break from his predecessors and move the embassy, is now backing away from that pledge after less than a week in office. Instead, he is reportedly pursuing something far more ambitious: a revived Middle East peace process. “That is their top priority,” Joe Scarborough, the MSNBC host who speaks frequently with Trump, said on January 23, citing an unnamed White House source. “And they have been told in no uncertain terms that the recognition of Jerusalem sets that back for the next four years.”

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