00:51 GMT +320 February 2019
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    Israeli Minister Elkin 'Regrets' Trump's Choice to Delay Moving US Embassy

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    Trump's recent choice not to move the US embassy from Tel Aviv to Jerusalem for now so as to wait until a peace deal is tried out is regarded by many as a retreat from the solid support for Israel and comes under inevitable criticism from the Israeli side.

    TEL AVIV (Sputnik) — Israeli Minister of Jerusalem Affairs Ze'ev Elkin expressed Monday his regret over US President Donald Trump's decision to delay moving the US embassy from Tel Aviv to Jerusalem, saying that the president was guided by an "illusion" of the possibility that the peace process could be enhanced with the current Palestinian leadership.

    On Sunday, Trump explained why he had not fulfilled his election promise to move the US embassy from Tel Aviv to Jerusalem, saying he wanted to give peace between Israel and Palestine "a shot" before moving forward with his pledge.

    "I deeply regret that President Trump chose to delay the realization of his election promise because of the illusion that with the current Palestinian leadership it is possible to advance a genuine peace process," Elkin wrote on Facebook.

    In August the US delegation of officials led by Trump's senior adviser Jared Kushner went on a Middle East trip aiming to further peace talks between Palestine and Israel. The White House characterized Kushner's tour as "productive", despite the rumours that the Palestinians were reportedly frustrated with the position of the US.

    Israel declared Jerusalem its capital in 1949, but the international community largely recognizes East Jerusalem and the Old City to be part of Palestine.

    The Jerusalem Embassy Act of 1995 mandated that the US mission be relocated from Tel Aviv to Jerusalem no later than May 31, 1999. Every US president since Bill Clinton has signed a waiver every six months to avoid moving the embassy in light of the complicated situation and the dispute between Israel and Palestine surrounding the status of city.

    Trump followed in the steps of his predecessors on June 1 by signing the waiver, despite claiming he would do otherwise once elected as president.


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