Senators Threaten to Cut Worldwide Embassy Security If U.S. Doesn’t Move Its Israeli Embassy to Jerusalem

Israelis waiting for US visas line up at the US Embassy in Tel Aviv. PHOTO: AP/Eitan Hess-Ashkenazi/File

By Zaid Jilani | 4 January 2017

THE INTERCEPT — A trio of GOP senators have introduced legislation that would cut security, construction, and maintenance funds for U.S. embassies around the world in half until the president moves the American embassy in Israel to Jerusalem.

In 1995, Congress passed a law requiring the federal government to move the U.S. embassy from Tel Aviv to Jerusalem. Bill Clinton, George W. Bush, and Barack Obama all campaigned on relocating the embassy and executing this law. But once in office, every one of them invoked a waiver in the law that allows them to hold off on the move if they deem it necessary to the national security interests of the United States to do so.

Moving the U.S. embassy to Jerusalem would be seen as a green light to some Israeli government officials, such as Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu, who seek to make Jerusalem the undivided capital of the state of Israel. That, in turn, would preclude the Palestinians from establishing a state that includes East Jerusalem. Most international observers believe that this would render the two-state solution impossible and thus be damaging to peace.

The pattern has been for candidates to campaign on the pledge, which is strongly sought by pro-Israel activists who are influential during election season, but drop it once they reach the Oval Office. While campaigning for president, Donald Trump initially wouldn’t commit to moving the embassy — but by the end of the campaign cycle placed himself fully behind the relocation to Jerusalem. […]

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