Three Republican senators introduced legislation on Tuesday that would order the White House to recognize Jerusalem as Israel’s official capital — which the Obama administration has refused to do — and move the United States embassy there from Tel Aviv.
Shortly after being sworn into the 115th Congress, Senators Ted Cruz (R-TX), Dean Heller (R-NV) and Marco Rubio (R-FL) introduced the Jerusalem Embassy and Recognition Act. The bill, introduced by Heller, also calls for withholding certain State Department funds until the relocation is complete.
It's time to do what Congress said we should do in 1995: move our embassy to the capital of our great ally Israel https://t.co/FlhSdUPdcE
— Ted Cruz (@tedcruz) January 3, 2017
“Jerusalem is the eternal and undivided capital of Israel,” Cruz said in a written statement. “Unfortunately, the Obama administration’s vendetta against the Jewish state has been so vicious that to even utter this simple truth — let alone the reality that Jerusalem is the appropriate venue for the American embassy in Israel — is shocking in some circles.”
Heller said, “My support for Israel is unwavering. From my very first days as a United States Senator, I have prioritized the strengthening of the important relationship shared between Israel and the United States.” Israel and America’s relationship suffered under the Obama administration.
— Dean Heller (@SenDeanHeller) January 3, 2017
President-elect Donald Trump has vowed to move the embassy from Tel Aviv to Jerusalem. This prompted a response from a senior Fatah official to call the move “an American act of stupidity” and threaten that it would result in “bloodshed”.
In 1955, Congress passed the Jerusalem Embassy and Relocation Act, which recognized Jerusalem as the capital of Israel by moving the U.S. embassy from Tel Aviv to Jerusalem. However, that promise has not yet been fulfilled.
Rubio said the bill’s passage will close loopholes that have prevented following through on congressional calls to recognize Jerusalem as Israel’s official capital.
“Jerusalem is the eternal capital of the Jewish state of Israel, and that’s where America’s embassy belongs,” Rubio said in a statement. “It’s time for Congress and the President-Elect to eliminate the loophole that has allowed presidents in both parties to ignore U.S. law and delay our embassy’s rightful relocation to Jerusalem for over two decades.”
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