[UPDATE] U.S. Embassy to Open in Jerusalem May 14, 2018

WASHINGTON, DC – U.S. Undersecretary of State for Public Diplomacy Steven Goldstein announced to that the United States embassy will open in Jerusalem on May 14 this year as the nation of Israel celebrates its 70th anniversary.

Moving the embassy from Tel Aviv to Jerusalem was a campaign promise made by presidential candidate Donald Trump. On December 6, 2017, less than a year into his first year in office, President Trump publicly recognized Jerusalem as the capital of Israel and gave the orders for the embassy to be relocated there.

During a January trip to India, Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu told reporters that it was his “confident assessment . . . that it will move much faster than people think, within a year.”

U.S. Vice President Mike Pence, during a visit to Jerusalem, confirmed that “the move of the embassy would come sooner rather than later.”

As of the writing of this post, no official government announcement has been made. However, the Israeli Minister of Transport Israel Katz tweeted this morning, “I would like to congratulate Donald Trump, the President of the U.S. on his decision to transfer the U.S. Embassy to our capital on Israel’s 70th Independence Day.”

The initial move will consist primarily of moving the ambassador and his immediate staff to what is now the U.S. consulate in the city and erecting a sign indicating that the building has become the embassy. The construction of a new, permanent facility will be conducted in several phases.

Reactions from Palestinian officials was critical, as expected. The Secretary-General of the Palestinian Liberation Organization Saeb Erekat said the embassy move disqualifies the United States as an arbiter of the stalled Middle East peace negotiations, claiming that the U.S. can’t be a part of the solution because it has become part of the problem.


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