Trump: Embassy won't move to Jerusalem within a year

Trump denies Netanyahu's remarks that U.S. embassy in Israel would move to Jerusalem within a year.

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Elad Benari,

Donald Trump
Donald Trump

U.S. President Donald Trump denied on Wednesday that the American embassy in Israel would move to Jerusalem within a year.

His comments came in response to earlier remarks on the embassy move made by Prime Minister Binyamin Netanyahu.

Asked about Netanyahu’s comment, Trump told the Reuters news agency in an interview that was not the case.

”By the end of the year? We’re talking about different scenarios - I mean obviously that would be on a temporary basis. We’re not really looking at that. That’s no,” he stressed.

Trump promised, however, that it would be “a beautiful embassy but not one that costs $1.2 billion,” referring to what he says was the cost of the new U.S. embassy in London.

Trump last week canceled a trip to London in which he was to open the new diplomatic mission, blaming his White House predecessor Barack Obama for selling off the old one for “peanuts”.

Earlier on Wednesday, Netanyahu said he expects the U.S. embassy to move to Jerusalem within the coming year.

"Three things are happening in the U.S. which have never happened before," Netanyahu told reporters in India. "My estimation is that the U.S. embassy move will happen faster than we think. Within the span of a year - that's my educated guess."

Moving the embassy from Tel Aviv to Jerusalem was a central campaign promise of Trump’s. Last month, he announced that he recognized Jerusalem as Israel’s capital and ordered the State Department to begin preparations for the embassy move.

At the same time, Trump also signed another presidential waiver of a 1995 law requiring the embassy to be moved from Tel Aviv to Jerusalem, as all the other presidents before him have done.

White House officials explained at the time that Trump signed the waiver to avoid a legally stipulated cut in State Department funding until the new embassy is actually opened. They said that previous presidents used the waiver to avoid moving the embassy, whereas Trump instructed the start of practical work on the mission.