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 CruzMellman: Two worlds — Online and off GOP pollster: Trump dominates political rivals vying for media attention Cruz challenger O'Rourke launching .27M TV ad buy focusing on 'positive' message MORE (Texas), Dean HellerDean Arthur HellerBattle of the billionaires drives Nevada contest Trump’s endorsements cement power but come with risks Collins and Murkowski face recess pressure cooker on Supreme Court MORE (Nev.) and Marco RubioMarco Antonio RubioDems make history, and other takeaways from Tuesday's primaries Establishment-backed Vukmir wins Wisconsin GOP Senate primary Florida questions Senate chairman over claim that Russians have ‘penetrated’ election systems 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 TrumpDems make history, and other takeaways from Tuesday's primaries Pawlenty loses comeback bid in Minnesota Establishment-backed Vukmir wins Wisconsin GOP Senate primary 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.