With Jerusalem embassy in place, Trump administration ends waiver

Ron Kampeas

WASHINGTON (JTA) — The Trump administration ended the practice in effect for more than two decades of waiving a law requiring the move of the U.S. Embassy to Jerusalem.

Secretary of State Mike Pompeo said in a statement Wednesday that the waiver no longer was necessary. President Donald Trump moved the embassy to Jerusalem last year on May 14, and in March, Ambassador David Friedman moved into a residence in a building in western Jerusalem that formerly functioned as a consulate.

Those acts fulfilled the requirements of the 1995 law, which also established that presidents could waive the requirements every six months for national security reasons. Presidents Bill Clinton, George W. Bush and Barack Obama exercised the waiver, and initially so did Trump. Underlying the waiver was American policy that the status of Jerusalem should be determined in a peace agreement.

Trump administration officials say they still abide by that policy, and that the embassy move does not obviate final-status negotiations over Jerusalem.

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“Twenty-three years ago, Congress overwhelmingly voted in support of moving the U.S. embassy to Jerusalem,” Pompeo said in a statement. “Successive administrations refused to move the embassy, and instead exercised Presidential waivers to avoid the Act’s restrictions. On December 6, 2017, the President boldly decided to recognize Jerusalem as Israel’s capital and instructed the Department of State to relocate the U.S. embassy to Jerusalem. We proudly continue to implement that decision today.”