US Envoy Heads To Israel To Begin Embassy Relocation Effort

David Friedman, nominated to be U.S. Ambassador to Israel, testifies on Capitol Hill in Washington at his confirmation hearing before the Senate Foreign Relations Committee.(AP/Susan Walsh)

David Friedman, nominated to be U.S. Ambassador to Israel, testifies on Capitol Hill in Washington at his confirmation hearing before the Senate Foreign Relations Committee.(AP/Susan Walsh)

(REPORT) — A US congressional delegation will visit Israel on Saturday to study proposals for transferring the US embassy to Jerusalem, according to Israeli radio.

Right-wing Knesset member Yehuda Glick said on Facebook that, during their one-day visit, delegation members would meet with Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu and other Israeli officials “to discuss the practical and political implications of the embassy’s transfer to Jerusalem”.

Neither source provided additional details.

The anticipated move has already prompted protests in the West Bank, with hundreds participating in demonstrations in several cities in late January.

The Palestinians regard Israeli-occupied East Jerusalem as the capital of their future state, but Israel proclaims the entire city as its capital.

John Kerry, the outgoing US Secretary of State, told US media in January that moving the embassy could lead to an “absolute explosion” in the Middle East.

“You’d have an explosion,” he told the CBS network. “You’d have an explosion – an absolute explosion in the region, not just in the West Bank and perhaps even in Israel itself, but throughout the region. The Arab world has enormous interest in the Haram al Sharif, as it is called, the Temple Mount, the Dome [of the Rock], and it is a holy site for the Arab world.”

Trump’s nominee to run the Israeli embassy is David Friedman, a long-time hardline supporter of Israel. Friedman, a bankruptcy lawyer Trump has called a longtime friend and trusted adviser, has supported Jewish settlement building, advocated the annexation of the West Bank, and has promoted the idea of an embassy in Jerusalem.

Several former ambassadors and Jewish groups have renounced Trump’s ambassador pick, saying that Friedman holds “extreme, radical positions” on issues such as Jewish settlements and the two-state solution.

Trump is expected to appoint his son-in-law, Jared Kushner, an Orthodox Jew, as an Israeli-Palestinian peace envoy. His family has made several donations to archconservative settlement groups.


 © Middle East Eye

 

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