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Senate of Pennsylvania
Session of 2017 - 2018 Regular Session


Posted: March 27, 2017 01:44 PM
From: Senator Stewart J. Greenleaf
To: All Senate members
Subject: Resolution Urging President to keep promise to move U.S. Embassy to Jerusalem
I am introducing a resolution that would urge President Trump to honor his pledge to move the American Embassy from Tel Aviv to Jerusalem.

In 1995, Congress overwhelmingly passed a law (Jerusalem Embassy Act) providing for the relocation of the U.S. Embassy in Israel to Jerusalem by May 31, 1999. The law also allowed the President to exercise a waiver to suspend the time restriction on the embassy’s construction for a six month period. Every President since 1995 has issued waivers at six-month intervals, thus preventing the embassy from being moved.

During the 2016 election campaign, presidential candidate Donald Trump promised to move the U.S. Embassy to Jerusalem from Tel Aviv in recognition of Jerusalem being the capital city of Israel. In a speech he stated that “We will move the American embassy to the eternal capital of the Jewish people, Jerusalem. And we will send a clear signal that there is no daylight between America and our most reliable ally, the state of Israel.”

In January, over 100 members of Congress signed a letter to President-elect Donald Trump expressing support for his pledge/policy to move our American embassy in Israel from Tel Aviv to Jerusalem and urged him to take swift action upon assuming office. The letter from congressional members indicated that “Moving the embassy will strengthen the unique alliance between Israel and the United States and send a clear message to the world that we support Israel in recognizing Jerusalem as its eternal capital.” The letter further stated that “This action is all the more urgent in light of the anti-Israel Resolution 2334, adopted by the United Nations Security Council on December 23, 2016. The resolution invites renewed diplomatic hostility and economic warfare against Israel, and we must act urgently to mitigate its consequences and to reaffirm our steadfast commitment to Israel.” In addition, several U.S. Senators introduced legislation, S. 11, the “Jerusalem Embassy and Recognition Act”, aimed at removing the President’s waiver authority and immediately implement the provisions of the Jerusalem Embassy Act and begin the process of relocating the United States Embassy in Israel to Jerusalem.

Each sovereign nation, under international law and custom, may designate its own capital. Since 1950, the city of Jerusalem has been the capital of the State of Israel. The city of Jerusalem is also the seat of Israel’s President, Parliament, and Supreme Court, and the site of numerous government ministries and social and cultural institutions. However, the American embassy in Israel is the only US embassy which is not situated in the capital as designated by the country. Yet, the US conducts official meetings and other business in the city of Jerusalem in de facto recognition of its status as the capital of Israel.

The Commonwealth and Israel have a long history of friendship and are great allies in support of each other's interests. The State of Israel, the only democracy in the Middle East, is the greatest friend and ally of the United States in the Middle East. As such, the United States must recommit itself as an ally to Israel. At this time of continued uncertainty in the world, the Commonwealth of Pennsylvania should reaffirm its desire that the United States of America remain a strong and unequivocal supporter of the State of Israel.

The presidential waiver under the Jerusalem Embassy Act expires in a couple of months (May/June). While I am hopeful that President Trump will not issue another waiver and allow the law to take effect, I believe it is important that we show our support for the Nation of Israel by adopting this resolution urging President Trump to honor his pledge to move the American Embassy from Tel Aviv to Jerusalem.

If you are interested in cosponsoring this resolution, please do so by the close of business on Friday, March 31st.

Introduced as SR74