Jerusalem approves U.S. plan for new permanent embassy

The city of Jerusalem has granted permissions for the United States to move ahead with a permanent embassy there, officials said Tuesday, to replace the facility consular staff have been using since the formal move 19 months ago.

One option for the new embassy involves renovating the existing United States consulate building in Jerusalem. File Photo by Atef Safadi

Jerusalem Mayor Moshe Lion agreed to fast-track the planning process for the embassy, more than two years after U.S. President Donald Trump first announced his intention to move the facility from Tel Aviv. U.S. staff moved into a temporary building in Jerusalem’s Arnona neighborhood in May 2018.

“The American embassy today received the green light from the Jerusalem Municipality,” Lion said Tuesday. “Within six months, we will move to the advanced stages of the project and, with the help of God, in a few years we will be able to inaugurate the permanent American embassy in the capital of Israel.”

Two different sites in the city are being considered as a possible location for the embassy complex. One involves construction of new building on vacant land within a U.S.-owned compound, and the other would see extensive remodeling of the former consulate.

The U.S. decision to relocate the embassy was denounced by Palestinian leaders who consider East Jerusalem the capital of a future Palestinian state.

United Nations member states overwhelmingly approved a resolution in 2017 declaring U.S. recognition of Jerusalem as the Israeli capital “null and void” and demanded it be canceled.

ByDon Jacobson