In January 2017, the Jerusalem Embassy and Recognition Act proposed that the U.S. recognize Jerusalem as the “undivided” capital of Israel, while also relocating the embassy from Tel Aviv to Jerusalem.
Introduced by Senators Ted Cruz, Dean Heller and Marco Rubio, the Jerusalem Embassy Act references the congressional passage of a 1995 order relocating Jerusalem. Ever since then, presidents have stopped further developments by enacting incremental waivers to halt developments due to potential threats to national security that could arise as a result.
This legislative proposal also finds conflict with historical peace precedents such as agreements in the Oslo Accord of 1993, which laid out new agreements for cooperation and compromise. A turning point in Palestinian-Israeli relations, the accord set the framework for future reallocations of land between the two actors in the region.
The Palestine Liberation Organization (PLO), which is the overarching manifestation of the Palestinian nationalist movement, has stated that it will denounce recognition of Israel should the embassy transfer to Jerusalem come to pass. Structures of peace and security amidst the two-state conflict are fragile and political actors cite that “explosions of violence” may rise as a consequence.
According to statements from Trump administration officials like Kellyanne Conway, the relocation of Israel’s embassy to Jerusalem will be a “very big priority.” Other presidents, such as Presidents Clinton and George W. Bush, have also vowed to move the embassy, but have gone back on their decision due to the state of transnational relations in the Middle East.
In addition, the legislation would also amend the Jerusalem Embassy Act of 1995 to eliminate presidential authority to waive funding restrictions. The bill would also constrict the availability of federal funding allocated to the State Department for the fiscal year 2017 regarding “embassy security, construction, and maintenance” in the case of an emergency.
– Amber Bailey