A group of 42 congressional members called upon President Donald Trump to recognize Jerusalem as the Israeli capital in a letter issued Friday.
Republican Reps. Doug Lamborn, Mark Meadows and Lee Zeldin, along with 39 other members, sent the letter just before Trump began his two-day visit to Israel Monday. The letter urged the president to recognize “an undivided Jerusalem” during his visit.
“I am pleased to have led this letter with many of my colleagues which sends a strong message to our President and friends in Israel that America must fulfill our promises to them,” Lamborn told The Daily Caller News Foundation. “U.S. policy recognizes that Jerusalem is the undivided capital of the State of Israel and that our embassy must be relocated from Tel Aviv to Jerusalem.”
The letter noted that “Jerusalem is to Israel and the Jewish people as Mecca is to Saudi Arabia and Muslims,” and that each major religion has a capital that is “central to their idenitity.”
“Israel, however, lacks formal recognition of Jerusalem as the capital of the Jewish people,” the letter said. “Due to the significance of this holy place, we request that you officially recognize Jerusalem as the undivided capital of the State of Israel on your visit.”
Israel has controlled both the eastern and western sides of Jerusalem since 1967, although the Palestinians consider East Jerusalem their capital.
The letter noted that Trump’s acknowledgment of Jerusalem as the Israeli capital would be consistent with the Jerusalem Embassy Act of 1995, which stated that the U.S. should recognize the city as the Israeli capital and relocate its embassy within it. The U.S. embassy is currently located in Tel Aviv.
Trump has stated that he wants to restart peace negotiations between the Israelis and Palestinians, and he has not been afraid to push Israel. He told an Israel newspaper in February that “settlements don’t help the process,” despite portraying himself as a staunch supporter of the country during his campaign. Regardless of this adjustment, both Netanyahu and Palestinian leader Mahmoud Abbas have expressed interest in restarting the peace process with Trump.
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