After President Donald Trump contentious decision last year to recognize Jerusalem as the Israeli capital, the official U.S. Embassy inauguration Monday will coincide with the 70th anniversary of Israel’s Declaration of Independence.
The Office of the spokesperson for the Department of State said it was proud to announce the dedication and that Amb. David Friedman would preside over the dedication ceremony.
The U.S. Embassy had operated on HaYarkon Street in Tel Aviv since the late 1960s. No country has its embassy in Jerusalem because of its contested status — both Israelis and Palestinians see the ancient city as their capital. For decades.
The U.S. policy refrained from recognizing Jerusalem as Israel’s capital until Israelis and Palestinians settled the matter in a peace agreement.
In the first phase, only the ambassador and his core staff will move from Tel Aviv to Jerusalem, a U.S. official told The Washington Post. The consular staff will become embassy employees and extensions will be built to house more employees.
The new Secretary of State Mike Pompeo during a meeting with Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu said,By recognizing Jerusalem as the capital of Israel and the seat of its government, we’re recognizing reality.
I must tell you that the bold decision by President Trump has prompted other countries — there are quite a few now who are planning to move their embassy to Jerusalem as well,” said Netanyahu.
Deputy Secretary John Sullivan would lead the presidential delegation to the historic opening along with Secretary of Treasury Steven Mnuchin.
Other members of the presidential delegation are Senior Adviser Jared Kushner, Adviser Ivanka Trump, and Special Representative for International Negotiations Jason Greenblatt.
The Palestinians recognize East Jerusalem as their capital.
Israel sees a “united Jerusalem” as its capital, having passed a law in 1980 stating that “Jerusalem, complete and united, is the capital of Israel … the seat of the President of the State, the Knesset, the Government and the Supreme Court.”
U.S. Ambassador to Israel David Friedman praised the move from the first day, taking to Twitter to say, “Today .@POTUS displayed the ultimate test of leadership and courage by standing up for what’s just and true, even in the face of stiff opposition. Jerusalem is Israel’s capital today as it was 3000 years ago. Congratulations to .@realDonaldTrump for this historic decision.”