The Department of State is seeking to move the U.S. Embassy in Israel from Tel Aviv to Jerusalem by 2019, a shorter timetable than had previously been expected, the New York Times reports.
The story comes just one day after Trump seemingly contradicted Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu’s optimistic prediction that the embassy would move “in the course of a year.”
The timeline appeared to mystify the president, who asked “By the end of the year?” in an interview with Reuters.
“We’re not really looking at that,” he told Reuters. “That’s a no.”
WATCH: Commentators Blow Trump’s Decision Out Of Proportion:
But the next day, the Times had State Department officials claiming that the move could be complete by 2019 because the plan is not to have a new embassy constructed but merely renovate the current consulate in West Jerusalem. A new embassy might take up to six years to plan, build and open for business.
Secretary of State Rex Tillerson has received permission from the president to enhance security at the consulate building, according to the Times.
“What you’ll see from the secretary is that we will do this at the pace of security, not at the pace of politics,” said Steven Goldstein, the undersecretary of state for public diplomacy and public affairs.