One year after the United States made history by opening their embassy to Israel in the capital city of Jerusalem, US Secretary of State Mike Pompeo announced on Wednesday they had completed the other steps required under the Congressional act calling for the move. The original Jerusalem Embassy Act called for the US to open an embassy in the Israeli capital and also a chief of mission residence for the US ambassador to Israel, which the US did in March of this year.
While the Trump Administration has wrapped up the Congressional requirements relatively quickly from start to finish that stands in strong contrast to the decades it took the US to finally fulfill the wishes of Congress, as the Jerusalem Embassy Act was passed in 1995. The Act allowed for Presidential waivers to delay the move, which were repeatedly used since the Act went into law more than two decades ago.
“On May 14, 2018, the U.S. Embassy in Jerusalem officially opened for business. 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 the relevant elements of the Jerusalem Embassy Act of 1995 have been addressed,” Pompeo said in a State Department press release. “Accordingly, no further Presidential waiver of the funding restriction under the Act is necessary.”
Israeli Ministry of Foreign Affairs Director-General Yuval Rotem thanked the US on Twitter and welcomed Ambassador David Friedman.
“Welcome to Jerusalem, Ambassador Friedman! We deeply appreciate the firm US commitment to Jerusalem as Israel’s capital and hope you enjoy your new residence in this unique city,” Rotem tweeted.
Rotem’s tweet was in response to a Twitter post from Friedman, who expressed his “Eternal thanks” to President Donald Trump and Pompeo “for their courage and leadership.”
Since the US has opened an embassy in Jerusalem, multiple other countries have either done or promised the same, while still more have announced plans for diplomatic offices in Israel’s capital city.
Now, just 18 months since President Trump first announced the embassy move, the steps to fulfill the Jerusalem Embassy Act are complete.
“Twenty-three years ago, Congress overwhelmingly voted in support of moving the U.S. embassy to Jerusalem. Successive administrations refused to move the embassy, and instead exercised Presidential waivers to avoid the Act’s restrictions,” noted Pompeo.
“On December 6, 2017, the President boldly decided to recognize Jerusalem as Israel’s capital and instructed the Department of State to relocate the U.S. embassy to Jerusalem. We proudly continue to implement that decision today.”
(By Joshua Spurlock, www.themideastupdate.com, May 9, 2019)