By Jackson Richman
Out of all the countries that have embassies in its capital, Israel was the only one where such foreign outposts were not located in its capital, Jerusalem. This is due to the international community saying that the status of Jerusalem needs to be decided in peace talks between the Israelis and the Palestinians.
“Dear friends, what a glorious day,” Israeli prime minister Benjamin Netanyahu said. “Remember this moment. This is history.”
Despite an outbreak of violence along the Gaza border, the United States officially moved its embassy in Israel from Tel Aviv to Jerusalem, becoming the first to do so. Guatemala is scheduled to open its embassy on Wednesday. Honduras and Paraguay are expected to follow suit. All of this comes as Israel celebrates the 70th anniversary of its founding.
President Trump was not in attendance for the opening, but recorded a video, telling the audience, “It’s been a long time coming. Israel is a sovereign nation with the right, like any other sovereign nation, to determine its own capital.”
The U.S. delegation in the crowd included Treasury secretary Steve Mnuchin, Deputy Secretary of State John Sullivan, Ambassador to Israel David Friedman, and Ivanka Trump and her husband Jared Kushner.
Also in attendance were Republican Sens. Dean Heller of Nevada, Lindsey Graham of South Carolina, Ted Cruz of Texas and Mike Lee of Utah, in addition to numerous Republican representatives like Ron DeSantis of Florida.
Per the 1995 Jerusalem Embassy Act, the president has the obligation for the U.S. embassy to be in Jerusalem, which would be recognized by the U.S. as the undivided capital of Israel.
However, Section 7 of the law enabled a waiver in which the president may “suspend the limitations set forth in section 3(b) for a period of six months if he determines and reports to Congress in advance that such suspension is necessary to protect the national security interests of the United States.”
What was the U.S. embassy in Tel Aviv will now be a branch office. A branch office is an office associated with the embassy that isn’t a consulate, but is directly connected to the embassy. Therefore, the Tel Aviv office will be a part of the embassy in Jerusalem, which is expected to be temporary as a permanent location in the city is being scouted.