(photo credit: MARC ISRAEL SELLEM)
A bipartisan group of US congressmen called on President Donald Trump to move the American Embassy in Israel from Tel Aviv to Jerusalem, as the deadline for him to make a decision continues to loom.
“The American Embassy belongs in the Jewish capital of Jerusalem,” Congressional Israel Allies Caucus co-chairman Rep. Eliot Engel (D-New York) said. “It does not take a national security expert to know that the Kotel, the Western Wall, is in Israel. I know that Jerusalem is the capital of Israel, the undivided capital of Israel, because when I visited the prime minister, the Supreme Court, the Knesset, the very institutions of Israeli democracy, we meet in Jerusalem.”
CIAC co-chairman Rep. Doug Lamborn (R-Colorado) added: “I don’t know any other country in the world that isn’t able to name its own capital.”
The representatives spoke at a celebration of the 50th anniversary of Jerusalem’s reunification at the US Capitol earlier in the week. The event was hosted by the Israel Allies Foundation, which engages in faithbased diplomacy and helps found pro-Israel caucuses in parliaments around the world, including the Congressional Israel Allies Caucus.
The deadline for Trump to decide whether to sign a waiver, overriding a 1995 law requiring the US embassy to be moved to Jerusalem, is June 1.
Rep. Trent Franks (R-Arizona) said, “Next month, when it comes time to sign the waiver... the president just can’t find his pen.”
Franks also said he was wowed by Trump visiting the Western Wall, but that Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu should have been there with him.
Rep. Lee Zeldin (R-New York) called for all members of Congress to “understand that Jerusalem is the undivided, indivisible capital of the Jewish State of Israel. It should be recognized as such. That is what it is.”
Congressional Foreign Affairs Committee chairman Ed Royce (R-California) pointed out that all religions have had rights in Jerusalem since Israel liberated it 50 years ago.
Rep. Brad Sherman (D-California) talked of the Jewish people’s 3,000 year-old history in the city.
“I’ve been to the site where our embassy is supposed to stand,” Sherman added. “That land is a part of Jerusalem, permanently allocated to Israel under the Saudi peace plan. It is time for the US, when it comes to Jerusalem, to be at least as pro-Israel as the government of Saudi Arabia.”
Rep. Gene Green (D-Texas) cited his Christian faith and said, “What is called the West Bank needs to be a part of Israel simply because of defense purposes.
I am not a military person, but I always want to hold the high ground.”
The Israel Allies Foundation also launched a petition calling on Trump to fulfill his campaign promise and move the embassy.