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U.S. President Donald Trump looks up as reporters ask questions about the future of U.S. Secretary of State Rex Tillerson in the Oval Office at the White House in Washington, U.S., November 30, 2017. REUTERS/Kevin Lamarque(reuters_tickers)
WASHINGTON (Reuters) - President Donald Trump is likely to waive a requirement that the United States move its embassy in Israel to Jerusalem, but is weighing other options to make clear his intent to do so eventually, a senior administration official said on Thursday.
Trump pledged on the campaign trail last year that he would move the embassy from Tel Aviv to Jerusalem, a long-time goal of Republican politicians.
But in keeping with recent practice, Trump in June waived the requirement to avoid inflaming tensions in the Middle East.
A senior administration official said Trump will likely waive the requirement again in coming days, but that he is considering what other steps he might take at the same time, such as declaring Jerusalem the capital of Israel.
The United States has no embassy building in Jerusalem that it could move U.S. diplomatic operations into, meaning any move would take plenty of lead time in order to build an embassy.
Vice President Mike Pence said earlier this week that Trump is actively considering "when and how" to move the embassy to Jerusalem.
The status of Jerusalem is one of the major stumbling blocks in achieving peace between Israel and the Palestinians.
Israel captured Arab East Jerusalem during the 1967 Middle East war and later annexed it, a move not recognised internationally. Israel considers all of the city its indivisible capital.
The Palestinians want East Jerusalem as the capital of their future state. Jerusalem is home to holy sites of the Jewish, Muslim and Christian religions.
(Reporting by Steve Holland; editing by Jonathan Oatis)