Although Israel considers Jerusalem its capital, the U.S. has never officially recognized the city as such, and has kept its embassy in Tel Aviv since 1948. Now, President-elect Donald Trump is vowing to relocate the U.S. embassy to Jerusalem.
"That is very big priority for this president-elect, Donald Trump," Kellyanne Conway, a senior aide to Trump told conservative radio host Hugh Hewitt on Dec. 12, notes Politico. "He made it very clear during the campaign, Hugh, and as president-elect I've heard him repeat it several times privately, if not publicly.”
Jerusalem is a controversial pick as both Israel and the Palestinians claim it as their capital.
Official U.S. State Department policy states that the status of Jerusalem will only be determined following final peace talks between the Israelis and the Palestinians, according to Haaretz.
In 1995, Congress enacted the Jerusalem Embassy Act, which mandated that the U.S. relocate its embassy to Jerusalem by 1999. The relocation has not yet happened as a clause in the bill allows the president to "delay the implementation of the law indefinitely if the move presents national security concerns."
But the Trump campaign has promised Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu that "a Trump administration would finally accept the long-standing Congressional mandate to recognize Jerusalem as the undivided capital of the State of Israel.”
“It should have been done years ago,” said Nir Barkat, the mayor of Jerusalem and a friend of Trump’s son-in-law and senior adviser Jared Kushner. “My impression is, because I know some of the people and friends around Donald Trump, I believe that it will happen, sooner rather than later.”
Riyad Mansour, the Palestinian envoy to the United Nations, vowed to oppose Trump should he follow through with his Jerusalem embassy plans, notes Breitbart.
“If people attack us by moving the embassy to Jerusalem, which is a violation of Security Council resolutions, it is a violation of Resolution 181 of the U.N. general assembly that was drafted by the U.S. ... it means they are showing belligerency towards us,” he told the U.N. in November. “If they do that nobody should blame us for unleashing all of the weapons that we have in the U.N. to defend ourselves and we have a lot of weapons in the U.N. ... Maybe I can’t have resolutions in the Security Council but I can make their lives miserable every day with precipitating a veto on my admission as a member state.”