Secretary Rex W. Tillerson said the State Department will “immediately” begin “preparations to move the U.S. Embassy from Tel Aviv to Jerusalem.”
In a statement to People’s Pundit Daily (PPD) following President Donald J. Trump’s “historic decision” to “officially recognize” Jerusalem as the capital of Israel, Secretary Tillerson said the move “aligns U.S. presence with the reality that Jerusalem is home to Israel’s legislature, Supreme Court, President’s office, and Prime Minister‘s office.”
“We have consulted with many friends, partners, and allies in advance of the President making his decision,” Mr. Tillerson said. “We firmly believe there is an opportunity for a lasting peace.”
The President’s decision not only fulfills a major campaign promise to religious conservatives and the vast majority of Americans who support Israel but also a 22-year old national promise to the Israelis.
Before of the announcement Wednesday, President Trump on Tuesday spoke with Palestinian President Mahmood Abbas, Jordanian King Abdullah and Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu.
He said during a speech in the Diplomatic Reception Room of the White House on Wednesday that recognition and relocation was “long overdue” and “the right thing to do.”
In 1995, Congress passed The Jerusalem Embassy and Relocation Act, which recognized Jerusalem as the capital of Israel and called for moving the U.S. Embassy. Waivers are permitted by presidents in the event national security is a concern, which President Trump signed in June.
“As the President said in his remarks today, ‘Peace is never beyond the grasp of those willing to reach it,'” Secretary Tillerson added. “The State Department will immediately begin the process to implement this decision by starting the preparations to move the U.S. Embassy from Tel Aviv to Jerusalem.”
A White House official said Tuesday that the President will still have to sign a waiver in order to preserve funding to the State Department, while the relocation process begins. Secretary Tillerson stressed that it was necessary to ensure the safety of foreign service personnel at the department.
“The safety of Americans is the State Department’s highest priority,” he said, adding “in concert with other federal agencies, we’ve implemented robust security plans to protect the safety of Americans in affected regions.”
As PPD has previously reported, President Trump and his administration have been much more pro-Israel than his predecessors. While the Obama Administration had been working with the United Nations (UN) against or to punish the key U.S. ally in the region, the Trump Administration has done just the opposite.
In October, President Trump announced he had withdrawn the U.S. from UNESCO, citing badly-needed reforms and a continued anti-Israel bias. The United Nations Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organization (UNESCO) has long been under fire for exposed corruption and bias that continues to go unaddressed.