Inside Story

Will the US move its embassy in Israel to Jerusalem?

US president Donald Trump is reported to be considering moving the US embassy in Tel Aviv to Jerusalem.

For some it has a red line, for others it could ignite violence across the region. So why is the US government considering moving its embassy in Israel from Tel Aviv to Jerusalem?

Arab leaders have been very vocal about their opposition to such a move; some have even accused US President Donald Trump of  “playing with fire”; others have said it will fuel “extremism”.

Palestinian President Mahmoud Abbas has previously warned the White House against moving the embassy.

In 1995, during the presidency of Bill Clinton, the US Congress passed legislation on moving the embassy.
It was supposed to happen by May 31, 1999.

But there was a provision in the law that allowed the president to sign a waiver every six months – in the name of national security. Every president since 1998 has done so, including Trump himself back in June. 

Putting the embassy in Jerusalem is controversial because the eastern part of the city is Palestinian territory being illegally occupied by Israel.

So, what message is the Trump administration sending with this plan to relocate the embassy?

Presenter: Peter Dobbie


Mustafa Barghouti – secretary-general, Palestinian National Initiative

Daniel Levy – president of US-Middle East Project

Hussein Ibish – senior resident scholar, Arab Gulf States Institute in Washington