Agence France Presse
NEW YORK: U.S. President Donald Trump is "actively considering when and how" to move the U.S. embassy in Israel from Tel Aviv to Jerusalem, his vice president said Tuesday, evoking a campaign promise that the administration had sidelined.
Mike Pence made the remarks in a keynote address at an event in New York commemorating the 70th anniversary of the UN vote for partition of Palestine, which led to the creation of the state of Israel.
"President Donald Trump is actively considering when and how to move the American embassy in Israel from Tel Aviv to Jerusalem," Pence told the gathering of UN ambassadors, diplomats and Jewish leaders.
On June 1, Trump shied away from what was a major campaign promise by signing a legal waiver that keeps the embassy in Tel Aviv. The next six-month waiver is due to be signed this week.
"It's a question of when not if," a U.S. official said on June 1.
During his campaign for the White House, Trump expressed support for moving the embassy but did not renew the call - which would anger Palestinians and Arab states - when he visited Jerusalem this year.
In 1995, Congress passed a law making it U.S. policy to move the embassy to Jerusalem, symbolically endorsing Israel's claim on the city as its capital.
But the law contains a clause that has allowed each president since to issue and renew a six-month waiver on carrying out the move.
Pence, who is to visit Jerusalem next month, said he would address the Israeli parliament during the trip and "bring a message of resolve and commitment to draw the United States and Israel even closer together and to stand together in defense of all that we hold dear."
He said the United Nations had "too often" become "a forum for invective in the form of anti-Semitism and hatred" but vowed, "the days of Israel-bashing at the United Nations are over."
"I'm pleased to report today that America's support for Israel's security is at a record level today," he said.
The administration was "committed" to bringing peace to the Israeli-Palestinian conflict, he said. Trump would "never compromise the safety and security of the Jewish State of Israel," he added.
Pence on Tuesday attended a symbolic re-enactment of the November 29, 1947, UN General Assembly vote, on the eve of its 70th anniversary.
The event was held at the Queens Museum, where the General Assembly partition vote took place. The main building of the museum served as the temporary home of the UN shortly after its founding, from 1946 to 1950.