The Trump administration intends to move the United States Embassy from Tel Aviv to Jerusalem in 2019.
According to a senior official at the State Department, the U.S. is considering using an existing consular building in West Jerusalem in order to expedite the move to 2019. The reports claim the building would be used as an interim embassy while a new embassy is built.
The consular building has been in use by the U.S. since 1948 and is located in Arnona, West Jerusalem.
U.S. Ambassador David Friedman will also reportedly move his office to the building to work from Jerusalem while the new embassy is constructed.
Media reports on the time frame for the embassy surfaced after Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu stated midweek that the embassy move might happen in the “span of year.” Addressing reporters in India, the prime minister said, “My estimation is that the U.S. embassy move will happen faster than we think, within a year from now. That’s my educated guess.”
President Donald Trump responded to questions from reports following Netanyahu’s remarks, announcing that the embassy move would not move by the end of the year, and that the U.S. was looking at other options.
“By the end of the year? We’re talking about different scenarios. I mean obviously that would be on a temporary basis. We’re not really looking at that. That’s no.”
He also addressed the significant costs of constructing a new embassy, criticizing the recent costs of the new U.S. embassy in London.
Following President Trump’s remarks, reports surfaced that the U.S. was considering a possible interim embassy in Jerusalem. The office of Prime Minister Netanyahu noted that “the construction of a new embassy is something that takes years, but the prime minister believes that the U.S. is considering interim measures that could result in an embassy opening much faster.”
President Trump’s Secretary of State, Rex Tillerson, has taken a different stance on the embassy move’s timeline, claiming that the embassy move would happen closer to the end of President Trump’s term. He recently stated that the embassy would be relocated “probably no earlier than three years out, and that’s pretty ambitious.”
Amir Tsarfati, a Jewish Christian, is the founder and president of Behold Israel, a news site to correct the scarcity in trustworthy reportage on issues and events impacting Israel, and to resolve the uncertainty about who or what to believe.