Promise kept, sooner than expected.
We have covered the campaign promise, then announcement that the U.S. Embassy would move to Jerusalem, as part of the U.S. recognition of Jerusalem as the capital of Israel.
That has met a furious response from Palestinians, including a boycott of U.S. diplomacy, and scattered violence.
The easiest way to “move” the Embassy was to redesignate the U.S. Consulate in Jerusalem as the Embassy.
That’s what Mike Pence said weeks ago would happen by the end of 2019, as we covered in In Israel, Mike Pence responds to critics of Embassy move to Jerusalem: We’re speeding it up to 2019
But it’s going to be a lot sooner.
U.S. officials have just told various media outlets the redesignation will take place on May 14, 2018, in conjunction with Israel’s 70th Independence Day celebrations.
The Times of Israel reports:
The new US Embassy in Jerusalem will open in May 2018 to coincide with the 70th anniversary of Israel declaring independence, two Trump administration officials said Friday.
The officials said Congress was being notified of the impending move on Friday. Secretary of State Rex Tillerson signed off on the security plan for the new embassy on Thursday.
The officials weren’t authorized to discuss the plan publicly and spoke on condition of anonymity.
A ribbon-cutting ceremony was being planned for mid-May. Israel proclaimed independence on May 14, 1948. According to Channel 10 and Hadashot news, the ceremony could be held on May 14 to honor that date.
Haaretz further reports:
The United States will move its embassy from Tel Aviv to Jerusalem in May to coincide with Israel’s 70th Independence Day, a U.S. official told Haaretz on Friday.
U.S. President Donald Trump spoke about the decision during his appearance before the annual CPAC conference in Washington. “It was the right thing to do,” Trump said.
“I was hit by more countries and more pressure and more people calling, begging me not to do it. Don’t do it. And I said – ‘we have to do it, it’s the right thing to do.'”
The embassy will initially be located in a facility in Jerusalem’s Arnona neighborhood that handles consular affairs, such as passports and visas. At first, the embassy will house U.S. Ambassador to Israel David Friedman accompanied by a small team of staff….
While, technically, Independence Day is on May 14 as Prime Minister David Ben-Gurion established the State of Israel on that day in 1948, Israel celebrates its independence day according to the Hebrew date coinciding with May 14, 1948, which is the fifth day of Iyar. This year, Independence Day celebrations will start on the evening of April 18 and will finish on April 19.
I would like to congratulate Donald Trump, the President of the US @POTUS on his decision to transfer the US Embassy to our capital on Israel's 70th Independence Day. There is no greater gift than that! The most just and correct move. Thanks friend!
— ישראל כ”ץ Israel Katz (@Israel_katz) February 23, 2018
This is the 70th anniversary of Israel’s independence. But Israel celebrates according to the Hebrew calendar, which puts the anniversary on April 18-19. Palestinians riot on the Roman date: “Nakba Day”=May 14. So maybe this is a message to Palestinians as much as anything else. https://t.co/xxs1Vx7OSu
— Joel Pollak (@joelpollak) February 23, 2018
You know who is going to be most upset? Not the Palestinians, though we certainly are in for more days of rage.
The workers at the U.S. Embassy in Tel Aviv, many of whom will transfer to Jerusalem and lose their beachfront water view.
In May, the United States plans to open a new U.S. Embassy in Jerusalem. The opening will coincide with Israel’s 70th anniversary. The Embassy will initially be located in the Arnona neighborhood, in a modern building that now houses consular operations of U.S. Consulate General Jerusalem. Those consular operations, including American citizen and visa services, will continue at the Arnona facility without interruption, as part of the Embassy. Consulate General Jerusalem will continue to operate as an independent mission with an unchanged mandate, from its historic Agron Road location. Initially, the interim Embassy in Arnona will contain office space for the Ambassador and a small staff. By the end of next year, we intend to open a new Embassy Jerusalem annex on the Arnona compound that will provide the Ambassador and his team with expanded interim office space. In parallel, we have started the search for a site for our permanent Embassy to Israel, the planning and construction of which will be a longer-term undertaking. We are excited about taking this historic step, and look forward with anticipation to the May opening.
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