Senate Minority Leader Chuck Schumer broke with two of his Democratic colleagues by advising President Donald Trump to declare Jerusalem the capital of Israel, a declaration that is likely to accompany the relocation of the U.S. embassy.
Schumer told The Weekly Standard Tuesday that he recommended Trump declare Jerusalem the “undivided” capital of Israel. Trump is expected to recognize Jerusalem as the capital Wednesday, and will likely announce that he’s directed the State Department to begin the years-long process of relocating the embassy to the city.
The recommendation is in keeping with Schumer’s October statement on the issue.
“President Trump’s recent comments suggest his indecisiveness on the embassy’s relocation,” Schumer wrote in an email to The Times of Israel. “As someone who strongly believes that Jerusalem is the undivided capital of Israel, I am calling for the US Embassy in Israel to be relocated to Jerusalem. Moving the embassy as soon as possible would appropriately commemorate the fiftieth anniversary of Jerusalem’s reunification and show the world that the US definitively acknowledges Jerusalem as Israel’s capital.”
Schumer’s endorsement of the move places him at odds with a number of high profile Democrats, including New Jersey Sen. Cory Booker, who argued the measure should be “part of a larger peace process” and California Sen. Dianne Feinstein, who called it a “terrible decision.”
In a Dec. 1 letter to Trump, Feinstein wrote that relocating the embassy from its current site in Tel Aviv would “spark violence and embolden extremists on both sides of this debate.”
Reports indicate the president will move the U.S. Embassy in Israel from Tel Aviv to Jerusalem. I wrote him last week to explain why that would be a terrible decision. pic.twitter.com/MV1o73nyDk
— Sen Dianne Feinstein (@SenFeinstein) December 5, 2017
Trump informed Arab and Israeli leaders Tuesday that he would renew the six month waiver required to keep the embassy in Tel Aviv, while laying the groundwork for the eventual move. The six month waiver is required under a 1995 law that declared Jerusalem should “remain an undivided city” and “be recognized as the capital of the State of Israel,” but allows the president to continue the status quo by issuing a waiver biannually.
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