Embassy move ‘will not take place until 2019’

CEMETERY PRAYERS: These Orthodox men seem oblivious to the world furore over Jerusalem as they pray in a cemetery overlooking the Old City

MOVING the American embassy from Tel Aviv to Jerusalem is unlikely to happen until 2019 “at the earliest”.

Revealing this on a visit to Paris, Secretary of State Rex Tillerson said it was “not physically possible”.

President Trump had ordered the State Department to find architects, engineers and suitable locations in the city for the new mission.

But “they still needed to acquire a site, make construction and building plans, ensure necessary authorisations and then build the embassy itself”.

“This is not something that is going to happen this year, or probably not next year,” Tillerson told a news conference.

“But the president does want us to move in a very concrete, very steadfast way.”

Tillerson rejected the notion that recognising Jerusalem as Israel’s capital effectively prejudges the outcome of any negotiations over the holy city.

He said that would be a determination for Israelis and Palestinians to make and that “the final status, including the borders, would be left to the two parties to negotiate and decide”.

The president last week made the historic announcement to honour his election promise to move the embassy — and recognise Jerusalem as the capital of the State of Israel – calling it “the right thing to do”.

His decision, inflaming deadly tensions in the region, upended seven decades of American foreign policy that has resisted a recognition of Jerusalem as Israel’s capital before the Israeli-Palestinian conflict is resolved.

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