Pence: New U.S. Embassy Will be Moved to Jerusalem in 2019
About a month after President Donald Trump officially announced that the U.S. would now recognize Jerusalem as the capital of Israel and would be moving the U.S. embassy from Tel Aviv, Vice President Mike Pence has said that the new embassy will be open before the end of 2019.
“By finally recognizing Jerusalem as Israel’s capital, the United States has chosen fact over fiction. And fact is the only true foundation for a just and lasting peace,” said Pence as he addressed Israel’s Knesset, or parliament on Monday.
Pence reiterated that the decision was made by the Trump administration to keep “lasting peace” between Israelis and Palestinians.
“I bring greetings from a leader who has done more to bring our two countries together than any leader in the last 70 years,” said Pence. “Thanks to the president’s leadership, the alliance between our two countries has never been stronger. I am here to convey a simple message from the heart of the American people: America stands with Israel.”
However, Pence did not mention if the U.S. government would retrofit an already owned building, purchase a building or construct one for the embassy.
Prior to Pence’s announcement, other officials have projected different estimates for when the new embassy will be open.
Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu said the embassy move could be by the end of this year, but Trump disputed this last week.
“By the end of the year? We’re talking about different scenarios — I mean obviously that would be on a temporary basis,” said Trump to Reuters. “We’re not really looking at that. That’s no.”
While Pence received a warm welcome from Israeli PM Netanyahu in Jerusalem, Palestinian officials are boycotting his visit after seeing the recent decision as the U.S. siding unfairly with Israel.
Palestinian President Mahmoud Abbas called off a meeting with Pence that was scheduled for mid- December.
Critics of the Jerusalem decision argue that the administration has taken the wrong approach to this problem.