The latest report from Washington concerning the US Embassy move from Tel Aviv to Jerusalem indicates it could be done by the end of this year.
Despite recent statements from the Trump administration insisting it would take at least three years to move the embassy to the Israeli capital, the latest report, published Thursday in The New York Times, quotes US officials as saying it will happen by 2019.
According to the Times, the US administration seems to longer care about “cushioning the blow of the new policy, which has drawn angry protests from Palestinians.”
Since President Donald Trump announced his official recognition of Jerusalem as the capital of Israel last month, US relations with the Palestinians have completely deteriorated. Palestinian Authority President Mahmoud Abbas declared the Oslo Accords null and void and refuses to participate in US-brokered peace talks with Israel.
In an address to the Palestinian National Council on Sunday, Abbas, showing his true colors, went so far as to reject Israel as a Western “colonial project that has nothing to do with Judaism.” The speech was filled with anti-Semitic vitriol, including the assertion that European Jewry chose to remain in their home countries during the Holocaust rather than emigrating.
On Wednesday, Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu announced that the embassy will be relocated to Jerusalem by the end of the year. The following day, Trump said, “We’re not really looking at that.”
Sources in the Prime Minister’s Office responded by claiming that Trump and Netanyahu are actually on the same page. “The president and the prime minister are not saying anything different,” an official in the PMO said. He acknowledged that construction of a new embassy could take years, although Netanyahu believes the US is considering interim measures that would result in the opening of an embassy in Jerusalem much sooner, albeit on a temporary basis.
Last month, US Secretary of State Rex Tillerson said that relocating the embassy will take some three years, if not longer.”
The State Department has “settled on a more modest plan to convert an existing consular building in Arnona, a neighborhood in West Jerusalem. That will reduce the cost of the project and allow Ambassador David M. Friedman and his staff to move there as early as next year,” The Times reported.