President Barack Obama on Wednesday renewed a presidential waiver suspending the relocation of the U.S. Embassy from Tel Aviv to Jerusalem for another six months.
“Pursuant to the authority vested in me as President by the Constitution and the laws of the United States, including section 7(a) of the Jerusalem Embassy Act of 1995 (Public Law 104-45) (the “Act”), I hereby determine that it is necessary, in order to protect the national security interests of the United States, to suspend for a period of 6 months the limitations set forth in sections 3(b) and 7(b) of the Act,” Obama wrote in a memorandum directed to Secretary of State John Kerry.
The Jerusalem Embassy Act, passed by a supermajority of Congress in 1995, stated that “the United States Embassy in Israel should be established in Jerusalem no later than May 31, 1999.” An inbuilt waiver authority allowed the president to postpone the move, in the interests of “national security,” for six-monthly periods. Presidents Bill Clinton, George W. Bush and Obama have all issued waivers at six-month intervals ever since.
Donald Trump and Hillary Clinton are both on record supporting the relocation of the embassy to Jerusalem.
In his address at AIPAC in March, Trump promised to meet with Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu “immediately,” and “move the American embassy to the eternal capital of the Jewish people, Jerusalem.”
In 1999, then-First Lady Hillary Rodham Clinton said “she considers Jerusalem to be the ‘eternal and indivisible capital of Israel’ and will be an active advocate – if elected to New York’s Senate seat – to move the U.S. embassy to Jerusalem,” CNN reported at the time. Clinton hasn’t taken a position on the issue in 2016. On her 2008 campaign website – under the heading “Standing with Israel against terrorism” – her position paper stated, “Hillary Clinton believes that Israel’s right to exist in safety as a Jewish state, with defensible borders and an undivided Jerusalem as its capital, secure from violence and terrorism, must never be questioned.” The page does not exist in the revamped 2016 campaign site.
A recent Gallup poll showed that 24 percent of Americans support moving the Embassy to Jerusalem, 20 percent disagree with this proposal, and 56 percent don’t know enough about it to have an opinion.