The United States has announced the full implementation of the Jerusalem Embassy Act of 1995, which recognizes Jerusalem as Israel’s capital and mandates the relocation of the U.S. embassy from Tel Aviv to the city.
Even though the United States announced the move last year, U.S. President Donald Trump continued to sign the presidential waiver until the ambassador’s official residence moved to Jerusalem. U.S. Ambassador to Israel, David Friedman, took up official residence in a facility on Agron Street in Jerusalem in March.
“On May 14, 2018, the U.S. Embassy in Jerusalem officially opened for business,” U.S. Secretary of State Mike Pompeo said in a statement on Wednesday. “Now, as we near the first anniversary of that momentous event, I am pleased to report that I have provided my determination to Congress that (…) no further Presidential waiver of the funding restriction under the Act is necessary.”
Republicans and Democrats, in the House, the Senate, and the White House, have long supported the decision to recognize Jerusalem as Israel’s capital.
In a resolution commemorating the 50th anniversary of the reunification of the city in June 2017, “The Senate (….) reaffirm[ed] the Jerusalem Embassy Act of 1995 as United States law, and call[ed] upon the President and all United States officials to abide by its provisions.”
The long-overdue decision to relocate the embassy reflects the reality on the ground by recognizing that Jerusalem is where Israel’s capital is located, as indeed it has been since 1950. It is the location of parliament, the High Court, and Prime Minister’s office, as well as most major ministries and national institutions.
“Twenty-three years ago, Congress overwhelmingly voted in support of moving the U.S. embassy to Jerusalem,” Pompeo noted. “On December 6, 2017, the President boldly decided to recognize Jerusalem as Israel’s capital and instructed the Department of State to relocate the US embassy to Jerusalem. We proudly continue to implement that decision today,” he added.
Notwithstanding the embassy relocation, the U.S. does not take a position on the final status of Jerusalem.
[Photo: Public Domain / Max Pixel]