WASHINGTON – House Republicans are passing around a letter expressing support for “swift action” by the incoming Trump administration to relocate America’s embassy in Israel from Tel Aviv to Jerusalem, according to a copy obtained by The Jerusalem Post on Tuesday.
The letter, which has not yet obtained any signatures, is addressed to the president-elect’s transition team in Trump Tower, indicating the caucus’s intent to send it before Donald Trump’s inauguration next week.
“Moving the embassy will strengthen the unique alliance between Israel and the United States and send a clear message to the world that we support Israel in recognizing Jerusalem as its eternal capital,” the letter reads.
“This action is all the more urgent in light of the anti-Israel Resolution 2334, adopted by the United Nations Security Council on December 23, 2016,” it continues. “The resolution invites renewed diplomatic hostility and economic warfare against Israel, and we must act urgently to mitigate its consequences and to reaffirm our steadfast commitment to Israel.”
Trump has repeatedly signaled interest in moving the embassy quickly, and his top aides say it is a top priority for the administration as it enters the White House. While some Israeli officials have said the administration should prioritize other matters – such as cooperation on security and, specifically, on Iran policy – the government has largely welcomed the move.
Yet this particular letter is making the rounds just after several warnings from Arab world leaders against relocating the embassy. Jordanian officials are warning that such a move would be a “redline” in the relationship between the two allies, and Palestinian Authority figures are raising the prospect of a violent uprising in retaliation for such a dramatic act.
While previous presidents from both parties have promised to move the embassy while campaigning, they have all backed down from their vows in fear that it would prompt an intifada in the Palestinian territories and turmoil elsewhere.
“You’d have an explosion – an absolute explosion in the region, not just in the West Bank and perhaps even in Israel itself, but throughout the region,” Secretary of State John Kerry said in an interview over the weekend. “The Arab world has enormous interest in the Haram al-Sharif, as it is called, the Temple Mount, the Dome [of the Rock], and it is a holy site for the Arab world.”
But Trump’s team plans to forge ahead with its plans regardless of criticism from Arab nations, according to a CNN report published Monday. According to the report, US President-elect Donald Trump’s team has informed regional allies of the plans.
CNN cited unnamed Israeli officials as speculating that the move could be announced as early as May 24, on Israel’s Jerusalem Day holiday that marks the reunification of the capital in the 1967 Six Day War.Jerusalem Post staff contributed to this report.