United States Ambassador to Israel David Friedman said it is not a matter of “if, but when” the Trump administration will move the U.S. embassy from Tel Aviv to Jerusalem in a recent interview.
“The embassy will move,” Friedman told host Erick Stakelbeck in an interview set to broadcast on the TBN network. “It’s not if, but when. And I am convinced that during his term, the United States will recognize Jerusalem as the undivided and eternal capital of the State of Israel.”
President Donald Trump made the embassy move part of his campaign promise. In June, the commander-in-chief signed a six-month waiver deal to delay the move. The White House has declared that President Trump “has repeatedly stated his intention to move the embassy, the question is not if that move happens, but only when.”
Jerusalem is the capital of Israel. However, the U.S. State Department refuses to recognize Americans born in Jerusalem as being born in Israel, preferring to wait until a final status deal is reached between Israel and the Palestinian Authority (PA).
The State Department manual instructs: “For a person born in Jerusalem, write JERUSALEM as the place of birth in the passport. Do not write Israel, Jordan or West Bank for a person born within the current municipal borders of Jerusalem.”
In August, Vanity Fair reported that, while he served as White House chief strategist, Stephen K. Bannon lobbied Trump to complete the embassy move, but the move was blocked by Trump’s son-in-law and senior adviser Jared Kushner.
Vanity Fair further reported that Bannon boycotted a meeting with Palestinian Authority President Mahmoud Abbas, saying, “I’m not going to breathe the same air as that terrorist.”
The PA has a longstanding practice of “pay-to-slay,” which rewards Palestinian terrorists up to $3,500 a month for killing Israelis and Americans.
Last month, the Trump administration declared its support for the Taylor Force Act, a bill that would suspend America’s financial aid to the PA until it ends its “pay-to-slay” practice. The Taylor Force Act was named after a former U.S. army officer who was stabbed to death by a Palestinian terrorist in March 2016.
“The Trump administration strongly supports the Taylor Force Act, which is a consequence of Palestinian Authority and Palestine Liberation Organization’s policy of paying terrorists and their families,” the State Department reportedly said.