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 CruzTed CruzRight renews push for term limits as Trump takes power Dissenting nominees give hope to GOP skeptics of Trump UN leader willing to meet lawmakers amid push to cut funding MORE (Texas), Dean HellerDean HellerPlanned Parenthood poll: defunding vote hurts 2018 Senate Republicans Live coverage: The Senate's 'vote-a-rama' Overnight Tech: Tech listens for clues at Sessions hearing | EU weighs expanding privacy rule | Senators blast Backpage execs MORE (Nev.) and Marco RubioMarco RubioRubio wades into Trump-Lewis feud 19 companies that Trump has tweeted about Ex-Dem gov: I would have picked Giuliani over Tillerson 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.”
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 Trump Martin Luther King's daughter: 'God can triumph over Trump' Trump: Monday will be day one of administration Trump's navy build-up comes with steep price tag 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.