WASHINGTON – Earlier this week, during his visit to India, Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu told reporters that the United States would be moving its embassy to Jerusalem much earlier than previously anticipated – “Much faster than people think, within a year.”
President Trump’s affirmed in December that Jerusalem is the capital of Israel and that the U.S. would move its embassy there. The plan is being rebuffed by Mahmoud Abbas of the Palestinian Authority (aka the Palestinian Liberation Authority). The PLA has ceased all formal communication with the U.S. government, vowed never to participate in U.S.-brokered peace negotiations, and fulminated President Trump with, “May your house be destroyed.”
There seemed to be some brief confusion between the White House and the State Department as President Trump seemed to be caught unaware of the change of the time frame. Today, however, everyone seems to be on the same page.
The original plan was to build a new building for the embassy which would have taken up to six years and could have cost as much as a billion dollars.
The current plan is to refurbish and convert the existing U.S. consulate building for the new embassy site.
Undersecretary of State for Diplomacy and Public Affairs, Steve Goldstein said, “We are going to retrofit a building. There is no plan for anything temporary.”
President Trump told Reuters, “We’re looking at doing a beautiful embassy, but not one that costs $1.2 billion.”
Acknowledging that the process could be completed sooner, Goldstein said, “What you’ll see from the Secretary [Rex Tillerson] is that we will do this at the pace of security, not at the pace of politics.”
The New York Times, U.S. Presses to Relocate Embassy to Jerusalem by 2019
The Jerusalem Post, U.S. TO CONVERT EXISTING JERUSALEM FACILITY INTO EMBASSY FOR 2019 OPENING