December 6, 2017. President Trump announces his decision to recognize Jerusalem as the capital of the State of Israel and to relocate the US Embassy to Israel to Jerusalem “as soon as practicable”. Trump called his decision as “grounded in principled realism, which begins with an honest acknowledgment of plain facts”:
“The Congress, since the Jerusalem Embassy Act of 1995 (Public Law 104-45) (the “Act”), has urged the United States to recognize Jerusalem as Israel’s capital and to relocate our Embassy to Israel to that city”. said the President. ” The United States Senate reaffirmed the Act in a unanimous vote on June 5, 2017″.
President Trump emphasized that his actions “do not reflect a departure from the strong commitment of the United States to facilitating a lasting peace agreement” and that the United States will continue to take no positions on any final status issues, boundaries or borders.
“Peace is never beyond the grasp of those who are willing to reach for it”, said the US President. “In the meantime Jerusalem is today — and must remain — a place where Jews pray at the Western Wall, where Christians walk the Stations of the Cross, and where Muslims worship at Al-Aqsa Mosque”.
The US Secretary of State Rex W. Tillerson stated that “President Trump‘s decision to recognize Jerusalem as Israel’s capital aligns U.S. presence with the reality that Jerusalem is home to Israel’s legislature, Supreme Court, President’s office, and Prime Minister‘s office”. “We have consulted with many friends, partners, and allies in advance of the President making his decision”, he said. “We firmly believe there is an opportunity for a lasting peace”.
Some relevant facts:
The Jerusalem Embassy Act of 1995 is a public law of the United States passed by the 104th Congress on October 23, 1995. It was passed for the purposes of initiating and funding the relocation of the Embassy of the United States in Israel from Tel Aviv to Jerusalem, no later than May 31, 1999, and attempted to withhold 50 percent of the funds appropriated to the State Department specifically for “Acquisition and Maintenance of Buildings Abroad” as allocated in fiscal year 1999 until the United States Embassy in Jerusalem had officially opened. The act also called for Jerusalem to remain an undivided city and for it to be recognized as the capital of the State of Israel. Israel’s declared capital is Jerusalem, but this is not internationally recognized, pending final status talks in the Israeli–Palestinian conflict. The United States has withheld recognition of the city as Israel’s capital. The proposed law was adopted by the Senate , and the House.
Since passage, the law was never implemented because of opposition from Presidents Clinton, Bush, and Obama, who viewed it as a Congressional infringement on the executive branch‘s constitutional authority over foreign policy; they had consistently claimed the presidential waiver on national security interests.