The legislation would move the U.S. embassy to Jerusalem.
Three Republican senators introduced legislation Wednesday to formally recognize Jerusalem as the undivided capital of the state of Israel.
Senators Marco Rubio, R-Fla. (C, 74%), Dean Heller, R-Nev. (F, 58%), and Ted Cruz, R-Texas (A, 97%) introduced the Jerusalem Embassy and Recognition Act, a bill to recognize Jerusalem as the “undivided capital of the State of Israel” and to move the U.S. embassy from Tel Aviv to Jerusalem.
“Jerusalem is the eternal capital of the Jewish state of Israel, and that’s where America’s embassy belongs,” said Sen. Rubio, in an emailed press release. “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.”
The loophole to which Sen. Rubio is referring is a provision in the 1995 Jerusalem Embassy Act that permits the president of the United States to defer moving the embassy for six months for national security concerns. Past presidents have promised to move the embassy and yet delayed doing so every six months to avoid taking sides in the Israeli-Palestinian conflict.
The new bill threatens to cut State Department funding until the relocation is complete.
“Jerusalem is the eternal and undivided capital of Israel,” said Senator Cruz. “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. But it is finally time to cut through the double-speak and broken promises and do what Congress said we should do in 1995: formally move our embassy to the capital of our great ally Israel. I am pleased to co-sponsor this legislation with Senator Heller and Senator Rubio, and I look forward to working with the Trump administration to make this happen.”
Surrogates for the president-elect insist that Trump is committed to moving the American embassy to Jerusalem. Trump campaign manager and now counselor to the president, Kellyanne Conway, told radio host Hugh Hewitt it is a “very big priority for this president-elect.”
“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,” she said.
David Friedman, President-elect Trump’s appointee for ambassador to Israel, believes Trump will keep his promise to move the embassy.
“I intend to work tirelessly to strengthen the unbreakable bond between our two countries and advance the cause of peace within the region, and look forward to doing this from the U.S. embassy in Israel’s eternal capital, Jerusalem,” Friedman said in a press release.
Sen. Dean Heller’s Jerusalem Embassy and Recognition Act may be the action that gets the ball rolling under the administration of President-elect Trump.
“My support for Israel is unwavering,” said Heller. “From my very first days as a United States Senator, I have prioritized the strengthening of the important relationship shared between Israel and the United States. That’s why I’m proud to reintroduce the Jerusalem Embassy and Recognition Act. For years, I’ve advocated for America’s need to reaffirm its support for one of our nation’s strongest allies by recognizing Jerusalem as the undivided capital of Israel. It honors an important promise America made more than two decades ago but has yet to fulfill.
“While Administrations come and go, the lasting strength of our partnership with one of our strongest allies in the Middle East continues to endure. My legislation is a testament to that. I’d like to thank Senators Rubio and Cruz for their support for this legislation and look forward to working with the new Administration to turn this bill into law.”