Exactly 70 years after President Harry Truman recognized the state of Israel, the United States officially dedicated its embassy in Jerusalem on May 14.
In establishing the Embassy of the United States of America to Israel in the city, President Donald J. Trump fulfilled a promise decades in the making. His December 2017 announcement officially recognized Jerusalem as the capital of Israel and directed the U.S. Department of State to move the U.S. Embassy from Tel Aviv to Jerusalem, Israel.
“Israel is a sovereign nation, with the right like every other sovereign nation to determine its own capital,” Trump said in a video message. “Yet for many years we failed to acknowledge the obvious: the plain reality that Israel’s capital is Jerusalem.”
Since 1948, Jerusalem has served as the seat of government in Israel. For 70 years, the United States and Israel have enjoyed a strong friendship.
In 1995, Congress adopted the Jerusalem Embassy Act, urging the federal government to relocate the American Embassy to Jerusalem and to recognize the city as Israel’s capital. However, U.S. presidents delayed implementing the law for more than 20 years.
U.S. officials stated that the embassy move does not signify a position on sovereign boundaries or borders, which is up to the parties involved in final status negotiations.
“As I said in December, our greatest hope is for peace,” said Trump. “The United States remains fully committed to facilitating a lasting peace agreement.”
A festive opening
In front of about 800 cheering guests, the new location of the U.S. Embassy in Jerusalem, Israel, was dedicated at 13:00 UTC in the city’s Arnona neighborhood. After months of preparation, the building is ready to welcome U.S. Ambassador David Friedman and a small staff. Consular operations at the location will continue as part of the embassy.
“Today, we keep our promise to the American people, and we extend to Israel the same right we extend to every other nation — the right to designate its capital city,” Friedman said.
A presidential delegation including U.S. Secretary of the Treasury Steven Mnuchin, Jared Kushner and Ivanka Trump joined Ambassador Friedman for the event.
The U.S. Consulate General in Jerusalem will continue to operate as an independent mission with an unchanged mandate from its historic Agron Road location.
Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu said that opening the U.S. Embassy in Jerusalem, Israel, will go down in history. “Thank you, President Trump,” he said, “for having the courage to keep your promises.”