The White House on Wednesday said reports that it is poised to move the US embassy to Jerusalem were “premature,” ahead of a decision deadline.
The White House urged caution after the Israeli press suggested a decision would come as soon as Sunday. “This is a premature report. We have nothing to announce,” said press secretary Sarah Sanders.
Trump has so far decided not to fulfil his campaign pledge to shift the embassy from Tel Aviv. The issue is deeply controversial.
Shifting the building could be seen as a de facto recognition of Israel’s claim over the city. But Trump faces a December 4 deadline to publicly restate US policy.
Trump shied away from the move in June in order to “maximize the chances of successfully negotiating a deal between Israel and the Palestinians,” the White House said at the time.
The decision would delight many Israelis, but dismay Palestinians and raise concerns among Israel’s Arab neighbors. Trump’s advisors have been divided about the wisdom of a sharp shift away from decades-old policy.
Vice President Mike Pence, who is due to visit Israel next month, said this week that Trump is “actively considering when and how” to move the embassy.