U.S. to move embassy to Jerusalem in May

By Art Moore



The U.S. Embassy in Israel will officially move from Tel Aviv to Jerusalem in May as Israel celebrates its 70th Independence Day, the State Department said Friday.

Steven Goldstein, undersecretary of state for public diplomacy, said that Secretary of State Rex Tillerson approved a security plan Thursday evening for “a facility” in Jerusalem.

The plan is to open the new facility May 14.

“We’re looking at that as a possible date, but safety of the Marines and other people who visit and work there is primary,” said Goldstein.

A State Department official confirmed the date to the Jerusalem Post after Israel’s transport minister, Israel Katz, appeared to indicate in a tweet that the move would take place in the spring.

Katz said the U.S. Embassy will initially be located on a compound in Jerusalem’s Arnona neighborhood that currently houses the consular operations of the Consulate General Jerusalem.

“At least initially, it will consist of the ambassador and a small team,” he said.

Reshet TV of Israel reported the U.S. ambassador to Israel, David Friedman, will move his office and a small staff of four or five people to a building known as The Diplomat Hotel, which the State Department bought in 2014.

Residents in the neighborhood have noticed workmen delivering crates and furniture to the building, the Israeli channel said.

The State Department continues to examine possible sites for the construction of a larger, permanent embassy in Jerusalem, the Post reported.

Last month, on his trip to Israel, Vice President Pence said the permanent embassy will open by the end of 2019, a faster timeline than had been previously reported.

“In the weeks ahead, our administration will advance its plan to open the United States Embassy in Jerusalem — and that United States Embassy will open before the end of next year,” Pence said.

The Trump administration is considering an offer from Click to see the original article