TEL AVIV – President Donald Trump is “actively considering” how to move the U.S. embassy from Tel Aviv to Jerusalem, Vice President Mike Pence said Tuesday ahead of a trip to Israel.
He made his remarks during a keynote address at an event in New York commemorating the 70th anniversary of the UN vote for partition of mandatory Palestine into Jewish and Arab states.
“President Donald Trump is actively considering when and how to move the American embassy in Israel from Tel Aviv to Jerusalem,” Pence told the gathering, hosted by Israel’s Ambassador to the UN Danny Danon.
The event took place at the Queens Museum, the site of the landmark vote in 1947 that passed 33 to 13 with 10 abstentions.
“Israel didn’t need a resolution to call for its existence, because its right to exist is self-evident and timeless,” Pence said. “While Israel was built by human hands, it’s impossible not to see the hand of heaven here too.”
Despite it being a campaign promise, Trump has so far deferred an embassy move. In June, he signed a waiver keeping it in Tel Aviv for another six months, although the White House at the time said it was still a question of “when not if.”
Next month, Trump is due to sign another waiver postponing a transfer for another six months.
During Tuesday’s address, Pence emphasized the U.S.’s strong relations with Israel.
“As President Trump says, ‘If the world knows nothing else, let them know this: America stands with Israel,’” he said. “Under our administration, America will always stand with Israel.”
He also commented on U.S. efforts at the UN, repeating U.S. envoy to the UN Nikki Haley’s words that “the days of Israel-bashing at the United Nations are over.”
Regarding the Iran nuclear deal, Pence said the Trump administration “will not allow Iran to develop nuclear weapons. This is our solemn promise to you, to Israel and to the world.”
“As we speak, our administration is working with Congress to overcome some of the Iran deal’s most glaring problems.”
Pence also said that Trump and his team were working on a peace deal with the Palestinians that “will never compromise the safety and security of the Jewish State of Israel.”
Danon also addressed the event, saying that the UN vote paved the way for the creation of the Middle East’s “beacon of democracy.”
“Seventy years ago, in this very room, in these very seats where you are sitting today, the dream of the Jewish people of 2,000 years came true. In 1897, Theodor Herzl dreamed of the impossible,” Danon said. “In 1947, the Jewish people realized the impossible. And today, in 2017, 70 years later, the modern State of Israel has made the impossible possible. From this day onward, for the next 70 years and beyond, Israel will continue to be a beacon of democracy, a powerhouse of innovation and a light unto the nations.”