US Embassy in Jerusalem to cost more than $21 million

US Embassy in Jerusalem to cost more than $21 million
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Designing and building the U.S. Embassy in Jerusalem will cost more than $21 million, according to documents filed with the official database of federal spending.

Al-Monitor first reported on the filing, which occurred on July 9 and shows that the State Department granted the Maryland-based Desbuild Limak D&K a contract worth $21.2 million to design and construct “addition and compound security upgrades” at the embassy. 

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The Middle East news site notes that the updates will be made at the former consular building in Jerusalem, which is the current temporary home for the embassy. 

The figure runs counter to past statements President TrumpDonald John TrumpSenate GOP budget ignores Trump, cuts defense Trump says he'll nominate Stephen Moore to Fed White House: ISIS territory in Syria has been 100 percent eliminated MORE has made regarding how much it would cost the U.S. to move its embassy in Israel from Tel Aviv to Jerusalem. 

“We’re going to have it built very quickly and very inexpensively,” President Trump said in March, according to Al-Monitor. Trump made the remark while sitting with Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu in the Oval Office.

“They put an order in front of my desk last week for a billion dollars. I said, ‘A billion? What’s that for?’ ” Trump asked. “We’re actually doing it for about $250,000."

Trump later raised his estimate in a press conference with German Chancellor Angela Merkel in April, saying that a renovation would cost between $300,000 and $400,000. 

The news outlet reports that in addition to the $21.2 million contract for upgrades, the U.S. government has already allocated $300,000 for the new embassy. The $300,000 went toward initial modifications to the former consular building, which occurred before the official opening of the embassy in May. 

A State Department official told Al-Monitor that Trump's estimates did not consider the second phase of renovations for the embassy. 

The decision to move the U.S. Embassy from Tel Aviv to Jerusalem in May gave rise to violent clashes between Palestinians and Israeli troops. More than 50 Palestinians were killed as they attempted to cross the border fence between Israel and Gaza in protest of the move.

--This report was updated on July 18 at 7:29 a.m.