The White House released a memo to the secretary of state ordering a six-month suspension in preparations for moving the U.S. embassy from Tel Aviv. The order also coincided with a visit to the Oval Office by Israeli Prime Minister Ehud Olmert.
"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 six months" plans to move the embassy, the president's memo said. "My administration remains committed to beginning the process of moving our embassy to Jerusalem."
The issue of Jerusalem as the capital of Israel has always been a sticking point in the Arab world and negotiations for establishing a Palestinian state have included demands the city be returned to Palestinian control.
Israel captured the Old City in the 1968 Arab-Israeli War.