US President Barack Obama delayed for six months moving the US embassy in Israel to Jerusalem, the White House said on Friday, a bureaucratic ritual that exemplifies the controversial aspect of the city's status.
Ever since a law was passed in 1995 ordering the transfer of the US embassy from Tel Aviv – where other foreign embassies are located – to Jerusalem, US presidents have routinely delayed the move.
US policy on Jerusalem has not changed: Jerusalem is a final status issue to be resolved in peace talks between Israelis and Palestinians, said a White House official speaking on condition of anonymity.
Israel had declared Jerusalem as its capital in 1950, then annexed east Jerusalem in the 1967 War.
The international community does not recognize Jerusalem as Israel's capital and the future of the city is a key stumbling block in negotiations with the Palestinians, who want east Jerusalem to be the capital of their future state.
On May 21, right-wing Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu vowed that Jerusalem would remain Israel's capital "forever".