Israel fast-tracks new US embassy in Jerusalem

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US consulate in Jerusalem, Feb 24, 2018. (photo: Ammar Awad / Reuters)

The Finance Ministry will allow the Jerusalem municipality to waive the required permits.

By Staff | Reuters | Mar 27, 2018


“We will not allow needless bureaucracy to hold up the transfer of the American embassy to Jerusalem, Israel’s eternal capital.”
— Israeli Finance Minister Moshe Kahlon


Israel has expedited construction permits to enable temporary quarters for the US Embassy to open in Jerusalem as planned in May, the Finance Ministry said on Tuesday.

US President Donald Trump in December broke with other world powers by recognizing Jerusalem as Israel’s capital and announcing the US Embassy would be moved there from Tel Aviv.

Trump’s reversal of decades of US and broad international policy was welcomed by Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu as a “historic decision.” But it drew criticism from around the world and outraged Palestinians, who want a capital for their own future state in eastern parts of the city.

Israel has said the Embassy will be opened on May 14, the 70th anniversary of its founding. A US official said it would be located at a provisional site in Jerusalem that now houses a US consular section.

Building a permanent embassy could take several years.

“This is a strategic diplomatic move for the State of Israel and the planning agencies under me will do whatever is necessary to accommodate the schedule being demanded.”

Jerusalem Mayor Nir Barkat had voiced concern about the timeline, telling Israel Radio on March 9, “I hope their (Americans’) schedule will be kept.”

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