US refuses to give Israel former Tel Aviv embassy – report

The old embassy's land is prime beachfront property on Tel Aviv's Hayarkon Street, worth considerably more than the embassy in Jerusalem's Arnona neighborhood.

Tel Aviv branch of the Embassy of the United States, Tel Aviv, Israel (photo credit: WIKIMEDIA COMMONS/KROKODYL)
Tel Aviv branch of the Embassy of the United States, Tel Aviv, Israel
(photo credit: WIKIMEDIA COMMONS/KROKODYL)
The United States has reneged on a 30-year-old agreement to give Israel its embassy in Tel Aviv at no cost in return for free land in Jerusalem for its embassy there, Channel 13 said in a report on Tuesday.
The channel said that in 1989, Israel and the US agreed that when the US embassy move from Tel Aviv to Jerusalem will take place, the US would be given free land in Jerusalem for a new embassy and Israel would receive the site of the old US embassy in Tel Aviv.
The old embassy’s land is prime beachfront property on Tel Aviv’s Hayarkon Street and is worth considerably more than the embassy in Jerusalem’s Arnona neighborhood.
According to the report, Israel upheld its commitment and the Jerusalem land was given for free, but the US has refused to keep its end of the bargain and after negotiations between the parties, Israel has given up on receiving the expensive Tel Aviv property.
The report said that the US was represented in the negotiations by attorney Orrin Persky, a senior partner in the law firm Shimron, Molho, Persky & Co. The firm’s other senior partner is David Shimron, Netanyahu’s second cousin and former lawyer and confidant, who has been indicted in the Submarines Affair.
The firm said that Persky had represented the US for more than 30 years, long before the embassy move, and he works independently of Shimron and Isaac Molho, the firm’s managing partner, who is also a relative and a former adviser of Netanyahu.
Netanyahu’s office said it was unaware of the case.
An American official denied the report.

Lahav Harkov contributed to this report.