President Barack Obama has suspended a motion mandating the transfer of the American embassy in Israel from Tel Aviv to Jerusalem.

The US has promised for decades to make the move, though every six months presidents dating back to Bill Clinton have each made the suspension as a matter or routine.

The topic is highly contentious. Israel maintains Jerusalem as its capital, and it is customary for embassies to be stationed in a nation’s capital city. However, many in the international community question Israel’s right to claim Jerusalem as such, and position their embassies in Tel Aviv instead.

The official memorandum from Obama to Secretary of State John Kerry:


SUBJECT: Suspension of Limitations under the Jerusalem Embassy Act

Pursuant to the authority vested in me as President by the Constitution and the laws of the United States, including section 7(a) of the Jerusalem Embassy Act of 1995 (Public Law 104-45)(the “Act”), I hereby determine that it is necessary, in order to protect the national security interests of the United States, to suspend for a period of 6 months the limitations set forth in sections 3(b) and 7(b) of the Act.

You are authorized and directed to transmit this determination to the Congress, accompanied by a report in accordance with section 7(a) of the Act, and to publish the determination in the Federal Register.

This suspension shall take effect after the transmission of this determination and report to the Congress.