The Latest: Palestinians say embassy decision best for peace

FILE - In this May 23, 2017 file photo, President Donald Trump arrives to speak at the Israel Museum in Jerusalem. A senior Israeli official is expressing disappointment over Trump’s decision against relocating the embassy to Jerusalem and is accusing the U.S. of caving in to Arab pressure. (AP Photo/Evan Vucci, File)

WASHINGTON (AP) — The Latest on President Donald Trump’s decision to temporarily delay moving the U.S. Embassy in Israel to Jerusalem (all times local):

11:25 a.m.

The Palestinians are praising Trump’s decision not to move the U.S. Embassy to Jerusalem, saying it strengthens the chances of peace.

President Mahmoud Abbas’ spokesman, Nabil Abu Rdeneh (nah-BEEL’ ah-boo reh-DAY’-nuh), says the decision is an “important positive step” that illustrates the U.S. seriousness about promoting peace.

The Palestinian ambassador to Washington, Hussam Zomlot, says the move “gives peace a chance.”

Zomlot says: “We are ready to start the consultation process with the U.S. administration. We are serious and genuine about achieving a just and lasting peace.”

The Palestinians claim east Jerusalem as their capital. Israel captured the area from Jordan in the 1967 Mideast war and claims all the city as its eternal capital.


11:20 a.m.

Israel’s prime minister says the U.S. decision not to move its embassy to Jerusalem has hurt the prospects for peace with the Palestinians.

In a statement, Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu’s office said Thursday that it believes all embassies should be in what it called Israel’s “eternal capital.”

The statement says: “Maintaining embassies outside the capital drives peace further away by helping keep alive the Palestinian fantasy that the Jewish people and the Jewish state have no connection to Jerusalem.”

It says that despite the disappointment, Israel appreciates Trump’s friendship and his commitment to moving the embassy to Jerusalem in the future.


11 a.m.

Jordan has welcomed President Donald Trump’s decision to delay moving the U.S. Embassy in Israel from Tel Aviv to contested Jerusalem.

The pro-Western kingdom had warned that such a move was a “red line” that it would bolster extremists if crossed. Jordan is the custodian of a major Muslim holy site in east Jerusalem, an area captured and annexed by Israel in 1967 and sought by Palestinians as a capital.

More than half of Jordan’s citizens are of Palestinian descent.

Jordanian government spokesman Mohammed Momani said Thursday that “we strongly welcome the decision and highly value the message it is sending.”

Momani says the president’s decision shows “how much the administration values the advice of its allies” and that the focus must be on relaunching serious Israeli-Palestinian peace talks.


10:50 a.m.

A senior Israeli official is expressing disappointment over Trump’s decision against relocating the embassy to Jerusalem and is accusing the U.S. of caving in to Arab pressure.

Cabinet Minister Yuval Steinitz says the refusal to recognize Jerusalem as Israel’s capital makes no sense. Steinitz is a confidant of Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu.

Steinitz tells Israel’s Army Radio station: “I think the time has come to put an end to this farce. Everybody recognizes Israel as the capital of Israel. When Trump comes here, he goes to Jerusalem, not Tel Aviv.”

When told that Trump said he will move the embassy later, Steinitz says: “I hope that happens before the Messiah comes.”

He said leaving foreign embassies in Tel Aviv is “a surrender to unfair Arab and Muslim pressure.”


10:20 a.m.

The White House says President Donald Trump decided to delay moving the U.S. embassy to Jerusalem to maximize chances of reaching a peace deal between Israelis and Palestinians.

But press secretary Sean Spicer says Trump still intends to move the embassy from Tel Aviv. Spicer says, “The question is not if that move happens, but only when.”

Spicer says the six-month waiver Trump signed Thursday shouldn’t be considered a retreat from Trump’s “strong support for Israel” and for the alliance between the U.S. and Israel. He says pursuing a Mideast peace deal fulfills the president’s “solemn obligation to defend America’s national security interests.”

Trump was facing a Thursday deadline to either waive or comply with a law requiring him to move the embassy.


10:02 a.m.

President Donald Trump has temporarily waived a law requiring the U.S. to move its embassy in Israel to Jerusalem.

Trump’s move to renew the waiver for six months keeps the U.S. embassy in Tel Aviv for now. Trump has said he’s reviewing whether to fulfill his campaign promise to move it to Jerusalem.

Trump was facing a Thursday deadline to renew the waiver or see the State Department lose half its funding for its overseas facilities. Presidents of both parties have renewed the waiver every six months for years.

Israel considers Jerusalem its capital, but the Palestinians claim east Jerusalem for the capital of a future state.

The U.S. says its policy on Jerusalem hasn’t changed and that Jerusalem’s status must be negotiated between Israelis and Palestinians.