The United States is speeding up the moving of its embassy from Tel Aviv to Jerusalem just in time for Israel’s 70th anniversary on the Gregorian Calendar, on May 14.
“We’re looking at that as a possible date, but safety of the Marines and other people who visit and work there is primary,” said Steven Goldstein, the undersecretary of State for public diplomacy at the US State Department.
State Department Spokesperson, Heather Nauert also confirmed the timetable for the opening of a new embassy in Jerusalem.
“In May, the United States plans to open a new US embassy in Jerusalem,” she said in a statement. “The opening will coincide with Israel’s 70th anniversary.”
“We are excited about taking this historic step, and look forward with anticipation to the May opening,” she continued.
Nauert stressed that the new embassy will first have a temporary location at the current US consulate in southern Jerusalem.
“(The embassy) will initially be located in the Arnona neighborhood, in the building that currently houses the consular operations of the US Consulate-General Jerusalem,” she added.
The building will still function as a consulate while providing US Ambassador to Israel, David Friedman with a minimum of office space that will suffice at least for himself and a small contingent of staff. There is also a plan in the works to add an annex to the complex that will allow for even more office space while the US plans to establish a permanent site.
“In parallel, we have started the search for a site for our permanent embassy to Israel, the planning and construction of which will be a longer-term undertaking,” Nauert noted.
On Friday, President Donald Trump touched upon his decision to move the US embassy to Jerusalem during his address at the annual conference of the Conservative Political Action Committee (CPAC), saying that it was “the right thing to do.”