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Obama Delays Moving U.S. Embassy to Jerusalem

Friday, 04 Dec 2009 11:08 AM


President Barack Obama is delaying moving the US Embassy in Israel to Jerusalem from Tel Aviv.

A 1995 US law recognizes Jerusalem as Israel's capital and ordered that the embassy be relocated there. But the law also permits the president to delay the move for six-month periods, based on national security grounds.

Presidents Bill Clinton and George W. Bush invoked the clause during their presidencies.

Obama notified Secretary of State Hillary Rodham Clinton of his decision on Thursday. He first delayed moving the embassy in June.

The location of the embassy is a sensitive issue in efforts to negotiate peace in the Middle East.

In contrast to Obama's stance on the embassy move, members of the US House of Representatives presented Mayor Nir Barkat during his November visit to the US with initiatives to recognize Jerusalem as the "undivided capital of Israel" and calling to move the US embassy there.

Sen. Joe Lieberman (Independent-Connecticut) informed Barkat that six senators had sponsored a bill that would put an end to a currently needed presidential confirmation on the matter and implement the Jerusalem Embassy Act from 14 years ago.

The law, which was passed by the Senate and House of Representatives in 1995 - stated that "Jerusalem should be recognized as the capital of the State of Israel and the United States Embassy in Israel should be established in Jerusalem no later than May 31, 1999."

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