US plans to move embassy to Jerusalem al-Quds by 2019

January 19, 2018 1:58 am
A picture taken from the Mount of Olives shows on January 19, 2018, shows and the Dome of the Rock (C) during a stormy day. (Photo by AFP)
media have reported that Washington is accelerating efforts to relocate the embassy in Israel from Tel Aviv to Jerusalem al-Quds by the year 2019.
The New York Times and the Wall Street Journal reported on Friday that the administration of US President Donald Trump had plans to transfer the embassy to an existing consular building in the Arnona neighborhood of West Jerusalem al-Quds as soon as 2019, instead of building a new facility there.
The US State Department has decided to modify an existing property to accommodate the new mission, according to the media, the plan will make the move significantly less expensive and allow US Ambassador David Friedman and embassy staff to move to Jerusalem al-Quds by next year.
The New York Times said Friedman had reportedly pressed to move the embassy in 2018, but the decision had met with opposition from US Secretary of State Rex Tillerson, who had called for more time to upgrade the consular building’s security.
“The Arnona building is relatively new, though it would need to be secured to allow the ambassador conduct classified operations,” the Times noted.
The State Department had estimated that it would take “at least three years, and quite possibly longer” to complete the move since the timetable was based on the assumption that a new embassy building would be constructed.
On December 6, Trump announced that Washington would recognize Jerusalem al-Quds as Israel’s “capital” and move its embassy from Tel Aviv to the holy city, claimed by Palestinians as their capital.
The dramatic shift in Washington’s policy vis-à-vis the city triggered demonstrations in the occupied Palestinian territories, Iran, Turkey, Egypt, Jordan, Tunisia, Algeria, Iraq, Morocco and other Muslim countries.
Last month, the United Nations General Assembly voted overwhelmingly in favor of a resolution that calls on the US to withdraw its controversial recognition of Jerusalem al-Quds as Israeli “capital.”
Israel lays claim to the entirety of Jerusalem al-Quds as its “capital” while Palestinians want its eastern part as the capital of a future state for themselves.
Palestinian leaders have warned that the potential relocation would fuel strong reaction in the region and deliver a death blow to any prospect of resolving the Israeli-Palestinian conflict.
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