January 23, 2018

Pence: U.S. Embassy Will Move to Jerusalem in 2019

U.S. Vice President Mike Pence speaks in Israel’s parliament in Jerusalem on Monday. (Ariel Schalit, Pool/AP)

The vice president’s comments come a month after the United Nations rejected the U.S.’s recognition of Jerusalem as Israel’s capital.

By Katelyn Newman / 01.22.2018

Vice President Mike Pence announced to the Israeli Parliament Monday that the U.S. will move its embassy from Tel Aviv to Jerusalem before the end of 2019.

Pence’s statement comes a month after President Donald Trump recognized Jerusalem as the capital of Israel, a declaration the United Nations rebuked a day later.

Israeli leaders were pleased with the vice president’s declaration, while their Arab Christian and Palestinian counterparts rejected it, refusing to meet with Pence during his trip to the Middle East. Palestinian president Mahmoud Abbas previously called Trump’s recognition of Jerusalem as Israel’s capital “a slap in the face.”

Jerusalem remains a highly contested holy city between Israel and Palestine, which both claim it as their capital. The five decades-long strife between the two has ebbed and flowed, with Palestine declaring East Jerusalem – which has been occupied by Israel since 1967 – as its future capital and Israel building dozens of settlements in the contested land despite international law declaring its actions illegal.

According to the 1993 Israel-Palestinian peace accords, Jerusalem’s final status is meant to be discussed in the latter stages of peace talks.

The news also comes less than a week after the U.S. State Department announced that it was halving funds for United Nations Relief Works Agency for Palestinian refugees, withholding $65 million to the aid organization “for future consideration” that depends upon “revisions made in how UNRWA operates.”

Originally published by U.S. News & World Report with permission.