Three Republican senators are moving ahead with a pledge made by President-elect Donald Trump to move the U.S. Embassy in Israel to Jerusalem. The Jerusalem Embassy and Recognition Act was introduced on Jan. 3, at the start of the 115th Congress.
“Jerusalem is the eternal capital of the Jewish state of Israel, and that's where America's embassy belongs,” Republican Sen. Marco Rubio of Florida, who joins Sens. Ted Cruz of Texas and Dean Heller of Nevada in proposing the bill, wrote in a statement, notes The Hill. “It's time for Congress and the President-Elect to eliminate the loophole that has allowed presidents in both parties to ignore U.S. law and delay our embassy's rightful relocation to Jerusalem for over two decades.”
Rubio is referring to the 1995 Jerusalem Embassy Act passed by Congress mandating the U.S. embassy be relocated from its present home in Tel Aviv to the still-contested Israeli capital of Jerusalem. The law also allows the U.S. president to delay such a move contingent on safety concerns. The U.S. recognizes Tel Aviv, not Jerusalem, as the official capital of Israel.
“Jerusalem is the eternal and undivided capital of Israel,” Cruz wrote in his own statement, adds The Hill. “Unfortunately, the Obama administration's vendetta against the Jewish state has been so vicious that to even utter this simple truth -- let alone the reality that Jerusalem is the appropriate venue for the American embassy in Israel -- is shocking in some circles.”
In 1967, the State of Israel recaptured Jerusalem from Jordan and made it the young country’s new capital. The international community has refrained from recognizing Jerusalem as Israel’s capital as it is still claimed by the Palestinians.
The official U.S. stance has been to await final peace negotiations before conferring Jerusalem’s status as the capital of Israel, notes The Washington Post.
But Trump has not wavered on his pledge to move the embassy.
“He made that very clear during the campaign,” top Trump aide Kellyanne Conway said in mid-December, notes The Wall Street Journal. “And as president-elect I’ve heard him repeat it several times, privately if not publicly. It’s something that our friend in Israel, a great friend in the Middle East, Israel, would appreciate and something that a lot of Jewish Americans also have expressed their preference for.”