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GOP senators offer bill to move US Embassy to Jerusalem

GOP senators offer bill to move US Embassy to Jerusalem
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Three GOP senators on Tuesday unveiled legislation that would recognize Jerusalem as Israel's official capital and move the U.S. Embassy to that city from Tel Aviv.

Republican Sens. Ted CruzRafael (Ted) Edward CruzCruz's Dem challenger slams Time piece praising Trump Race for Republican Speaker rare chance to unify party for election 32 male senators back Senate women's calls to change harassment rules MORE (Texas), Dean HellerDean Arthur HellerSenate GOP wary of new tax cut sequel GOP Senate hopefuls race to catch up with Dems Family, friends mourn death of Barbara Bush MORE (Nev.) and Marco RubioMarco Antonio RubioStudents gather outside White House after walkout to protest gun violence Overnight Energy: Senate confirms Bridenstine as NASA chief | Watchdog probes Pruitt’s use of security detail | Emails shine light on EPA science policy changes Senate confirms Trump’s pick to lead NASA MORE (Fla.) introduced the Jerusalem Embassy and Recognition Act shortly after being sworn in to the new 115th Congress.

“Jerusalem is the eternal capital of the Jewish state of Israel, and that's where America's embassy belongs,” Rubio said in a statement. “It's time for Congress and the President-Elect to eliminate the loophole that has allowed presidents in both parties to ignore U.S. law and delay our embassy's rightful relocation to Jerusalem for over two decades.”

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A statement from Heller said that some State Department funds would be withheld until the embassy was relocated.

The GOP measure is in line with President-elect Donald TrumpDonald John TrumpIG investigating Comey memos over classified information: report Overnight Defense: Congress poised for busy week on nominations, defense bill | Trump to deliver Naval Academy commencement speech | Trump administration appeals decision to block suspected combatant's transfer Top Pruitt aid requested backdate to resignation letter: report MORE's support for moving the embassy. His pick for ambassador to Israel, David Friedman, also supports that pledge.

Moving the American Embassy to Jerusalem is highly controversial and would be a break with decades of U.S. policy.

Jerusalem was split between Israel and Jordan from 1948 until 1967. In 1967, though, Israel took Jordanian-controlled East Jerusalem in the Six-Day War. Nevertheless, the U.S. has continued to recognize Tel Aviv as the nation’s capital.

U.S. presidents from both parties have long called for Jerusalem's status as Israel's capital to be resolved by negotiations between the Israelis and Palestinians as part of a larger peace deal. But there has been persistent congressional support for moving the U.S. Embassy, most notably in 1995, when Congress passed a similar measure.

“Jerusalem is the eternal and undivided capital of Israel,” Ted Cruz said in a statement. “Unfortunately, the Obama administration's vendetta against the Jewish state has been so vicious that to even utter this simple truth – let alone the reality that Jerusalem is the appropriate venue for the American embassy in Israel — is shocking in some circles.