President Donald Trump will not use his upcoming trip to Israel to announce plans to move the U.S. embassy from Tel Aviv to Yerushalayim, although he still ultimately wants to take that step, a senior administration official said on Wednesday.
The official, who spoke to Reuters on condition of anonymity, said the Trump administration does not want to complicate attempts to resume the Israeli-Palestinian peace process by announcing the embassy move.
The trip is Trump’s first outing abroad as president and it will include the announcement of a U.S. arms deal with Saudi Arabia, Saudi investment in U.S. infrastructure and the establishment of a center to combat Islamic extremism in Riyadh, the official said.
Since taking office in January, Trump has shown signs of shelving his campaign pledge to move the embassy from Tel Aviv, while vowing to do what is necessary to clinch a Middle East peace agreement.
The senior official, who spoke on condition of anonymity, said Trump remains committed to his campaign pledge to ultimately relocate the U.S. embassy but does not plan to announce such a move while on his trip.
“We’re having very good discussions with all parties and as long as we see that happening, we don’t intend to do anything that we think could upset those discussions,” the official said.
Since both Palestinian President Mahmoud Abbas and Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu have expressed interest in returning to the negotiating table, “we don’t think it’s the right time to do it right now,” the official said. “But we’ll re-evaluate it down the road.”