The US delegation is in Israel to learn about the factors involved in moving the embassy to Israel’s capital.
An unofficial US delegation is in Israel to examine the moving of the US embassy from Tel Aviv to Jerusalem, Israel Radio reported Sunday.
The delegation, led by Congressman Ron DeSantis (R-FL), chairman of the subcommittee for National Security for the US House Oversight Committee, landed in Israel on Saturday. The group is expected to convene a press conference on Sunday.
“The delegation is in Jerusalem to learn first hand what it will mean to move the US Embassy from Tel Aviv to Jerusalem,” said Ruth Lieberman, a friend of DeSantis and a political advisor in Israel, according to the Jerusalem Post.
“Its leadership intends to return to Congress with a report and a deeper understanding of what to expect, and of some of the decisions that have to be made as well,” Lieberman said.
The delegation is slated to meet with Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu and other Israeli political leaders.
The delegation’s visit is the first sign of movement by the Trump administration to carry through with President Donald Trump campaign’s promise to move the embassy to Israel’s capital.
Trump’s campaign promise to move the US embassy was met with applause by Israel, but was strongly condemned by the Palestinians, who have threatened to react with violence.
Palestinian Authority (PA) head Mahmoud Abbas threatened that any attempt to move the embassy to Jerusalem would be considered more than a provocation, and hinted at a reversal of the Palestinians’ supposed recognition of Israel as a prelude to further belligerent steps.
Congress ordered the embassy relocation more than 20 years ago, but presidents ever since have refused to comply. Several Republican senators have proposed legislation that would withhold 50 percent of the State Department’s 2017 budget until the embassy move from Tel Aviv to Jerusalem is complete.
The last six-month waiver postponing the move was signed by Trump’s predecessor, Barack Obama, in early December, which gives Trump until about the end of May to decide whether to follow in his footsteps, testing Trump’s resolve.
By: United with Israel Staff
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