JERUSALEM – U.S. Vice President Mike Pence assured the Israeli parliament today that “In the weeks ahead, our administration will advance its plan to open the U.S. Embassy in Jerusalem – and that the United States Embassy will open before the end of next year.”
The U.S. decision to begin the move of the embassy follows President Trump’s recent recognition of Jerusalem as Israel’s capital and affirms Prime Minister Netanyahu’s announcement that the move of the embassy would come sooner rather than later.
The decision to relocate the embassy from Tel Aviv was actually made by the U.S. Congress in 1995. However, each president in succession has signed waivers delaying the move in hopes that doing so might move peace negotiations between Israel and the PLA forward. Peace talks are no closer to resolution 23 years later.
The Trump administration’s position is that arriving at a peaceful solution to the contention is up to Israel and the Palestinian Authority. Pence underscored this when he told the Knesset that the move “would create an opportunity to move on in good-faith negotiations between Israel and the Palestinian Authority.”
Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu introduced Vice President Pence, saying, “I have had the privilege over the years of standing here with hundreds of world leaders and welcome them, all of them, to Israel’s capital, Jerusalem. This is the first time that I am standing when both leaders can say those words: ‘Israel’s capital Jerusalem.’”
Pence responded, “I am here to convey a simple message from the hearts of the American people. America stands with Israel . . . We stand with Israel because your cause is our cause, your values are our values, and your fight is our fight.”
In related news, PLA leader Mahmoud Abbas was in meetings with European Union leaders in Brussels, seeking that body’s support of his quest to make East Jerusalem the capital of a new state of Palestine.