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Archive for Israel

Newsline: US embassy unlikely to move to Jerusalem before 2020

Relocating the US embassy in Israel from Tel Aviv to Jerusalem will likely take at least three years, and quite possibly longer, US Secretary of State Rex Tillerson said Tuesday. “It’s not going to be anything that happens right away,” Tillerson said in a speech at the State Department, reported upon by the New York Times. “Probably no earlier than three years out, and that’s pretty ambitious.” Tillerson said last week that the planned move would likely take several years. “This is not something that is going to happen this year or probably not next year but the president does want us to move in a very concrete, very steadfast way to ensure the embassy is located in Jerusalem when we’re able to do so, at the earliest possible time,” Tillerson said on Friday. Listing the steps involved in moving the embassy from Tel Aviv, Tillerson said the United States needed to acquire a site, develop plans, receive congressional authorization for the spending, “and then actually building the embassy.” US President Donald Trump last Wednesday signed a waiver putting off any such move by another six months, hours after recognizing Jerusalem as Israel’s capital.



Newsline: Possible Sites of US Embassy in Jerusalem

There is land in Jerusalem set aside for a new US Embassy, according to The Washington Post. It is located on the edge of the Talpiot neighborhood in southeast Jerusalem. In 1989, under US President Ronald Raegan, then-US Ambassador to Israel William Brown signed a contract for this piece of land for $1 a year on a 99-year lease. The Israeli government later zoned the area for a diplomatic premises with the intention of constructing a US Embassy there, according to the newspaper. According to the RIA Novosti correspondent, the area is now an empty field enclosed with a ramshackle fence on one of its sides. Nearby, there are small cozy homes surrounded by flowers. The site seems looks like no-man’s land. Old tires, mattresses and other rubbish can be seen strewn across the territory. The second possible location is just a 15 minute walk away from the territory in Talpiot. It is part of a complex of buildings operated by the US Consulate General. According to Israeli media, the US State Department bought a piece of land adjacent to the Consulate, where a hotel called “Diplomat” is located.


Newsline: London emergency services carry out training exercise at Israeli embassy

A section of the Israeli embassy in London was cordoned off as emergency services carried out a training exercise to test their response to a hazardous substance incident – the first test of its kind at a foreign embassy in the capital. Police, firefighters and paramedics wearing biosuits took part in the “live-play” exercise near Kensington Palace in central London on Sunday, amid snowy and wet conditions. Around 50 members of the Royal Military Police Reserves posed as casualties and embassy staff, though actual staff members were not involved in the exercise. The test saw emergency service teams descend on the embassy in Kensington Palace Gardens, to rehearse their response to “casualties affected by a noxious substance”.


Newsline: Czech Republic denies embassy transfer to Jerusalem

The Czech Republic affirmed commitment to the European Union’s policy regarding the Palestinian issue and the status of the city of Jerusalem and denied media reports of embassy transfer. According to a statement issued by the Czech Republic foreign ministry, Jerusalem is considered by the Foreign Affairs Committee of the European Union as the future capital of two states, Israel and Palestine. The statement by the Czech Foreign Ministry stated that the Czech Republic had recognized West Jerusalem as the capital of Israel before the signing of the peace agreement and didn’t adopt the new American position, or the Israeli claim, of the whole of Jerusalem as the capital of Israel. “We did not formally consider it as the capital, so as not to preempt the solution that the two sides must reach,” the Czech minister said.


Newsline: US top diplomat says embassy move to Jerusalem could take years

U.S. Secretary of State Rex Tillerson says it will likely take several years before the United States opens an embassy in Jerusalem. Tillerson is holding a news conference with French Foreign Minister Jean-Yves Le Drian in Paris. He says it will “take some time” to acquire a site for the embassy, develop building and construction plans, obtain authorizations from the Israeli government and actually build the embassy. Tillerson says it won’t happen this year, and probably not in 2018. He also says Trump’s recognition of the city as Israel’s capital “did not indicate any final status for Jerusalem.”


Newsline: Czech Republic Wants to Move Embassy to Jerusalem

The Czech Republic said Thursday evening that it supported U.S. President Donald Trump’s announcement on Wednesday that his country unilaterally recognizes Jerusalem to be the Israeli capital. President of the Czech Republic Miloš Zeman stated that now that the American president “proceeded in accordance with his election promise,” he is “truly happy.” Zeman added that as he proclaimed during his visit to the Jewish state four years earlier, he “would appreciate the transfer of the Czech Embassy to Jerusalem, and had it happened, we would have been the first to do so.”


Newsline: Mideast uneasy as Trump reportedly decides to move US Embassy to Jerusalem

Palestinian officials said Tuesday that President Trump told Palestinian leader Mahmoud Abbas in a phone call that he planned to move the U.S. Embassy in Israel to Jerusalem, raising regional tensions over the timing and extent of U.S. moves regarding the fiercely contested city. Trump has repeatedly pledged to take the highly symbolic step of relocating the embassy from Tel Aviv, which would be seen as de facto recognition of Jerusalem as Israel’s capital. The White House has not said whether Trump signed a waiver this week putting off any decision on an embassy move for at least six months, as past presidents have done, and the Palestinian statement did not say whether the president disclosed a timetable. The guessing game over Trump’s intentions brought new warnings Tuesday from Saudi Arabia, a key U.S. ally and a potential U.S. partner in any overarching Mideast peace accord. The Saudi Foreign Ministry expressed “grave and deep concern” over reports that Trump intends to recognize Jerusalem as the capital of Israel and relocate the embassy.