TEL AVIV – President Donald Trump is still undecided as to whether to move the U.S. embassy in Israel from Tel Aviv to Jerusalem, Secretary of State Rex Tillerson said on Wednesday, contradicting earlier assurances from the White House that the move will certainly happen at some point.
“He has not made that decision yet, to my knowledge,” Tillerson told the House Foreign Affairs Committee.
On June 1, Trump signed a six-month waiver of a congressional mandate on moving the embassy. Tillerson said that until the next waiver comes due, the administration plans to review the policy.
At the time, White House Press Secretary Sean Spicer attempted to water down the signing with assurances that an embassy relocation was definitely on the horizon. “The question is not if that move happens, but only when,” Spicer said on June 1.
During the committee hearing, Tillerson also tried to water down comments made a day earlier affirming the cessation of payments made by the Palestinian Authority to terrorists and their families.
“We will continue this dialogue with them,” Tillerson said, referring to the Palestinian leadership.
“We’ve taken the position to the Palestinian Authority in a very unequivocal way: You either take care of this yourself or someone else will take care of it for you,” he went on. “Those are the words that I have used with them.”
Both Israel and Ramallah rejected Tillerson’s claim that the PA promised to end the payments.