June 16, 2017 BY:
Senate Democratic Leader Chuck Schumer (N.Y.) and Sen. Ted Cruz (R., Texas) called on the Trump administration Thursday to resume plans to relocate the American embassy in Israel from Tel Aviv to Jerusalem.
Their demand comes two weeks after President Donald Trump signed an order putting those plans on hold to avoid driving Palestinians away from a peace agreement.
“Fifty years later, now is finally time to recognize Jerusalem as the one eternal and indivisible capital,” Cruz said at a luncheon hosted by the Orthodox Union Advocacy Center on Capitol Hill. “I believe it is long past time to move the American embassy in Israel to Jerusalem, where it belongs.”
Schumer touted the Senate’s unanimous passage of a resolution commemorating the 50th anniversary of Jerusalem’s reunification. The measure, passed on June 6, asserted, “Jerusalem should remain the undivided capital of Israel” and “reaffirms the Jerusalem Embassy Act,” which mandated the relocation of the American embassy in 1995. The law allows the president to postpone the move on national security grounds.
The Senate advanced the resolution just five days after Trump waived for six months a congressional mandate requiring the embassy to be located in Jerusalem. Trump will have to take up the issue again in December and administration officials insisted the decision was just a delay.
Schumer pointed out that former presidents Barack Obama, George W. Bush, and Bill Clinton all said the same, but never took action.
“We are going to continue to fight,” he said. “The president has not made it unequivocal that the embassy will not move, he just said that he’s going to study it a while. We ought to get it done once and for all.”
White House officials told the New York Times that Trump will take up the issue once conditions are right. Trump vowed to help broker a peace settlement between Israelis and Palestinians and hoped delaying the embassy relocation would help him toward that end.
“President Trump made this decision to maximize the chances of successfully negotiating a deal between Israel and the Palestinians, fulfilling his solemn obligation to defend America’s national security interest,” the White House said in a statement earlier this month. “But, as he has repeatedly stated his intention to move the embassy, the question is not if that happens, but only when.”