Republican Sens. Ted Cruz (Texas) and Marco Rubio (Fla.) on Tuesday introduced a bill to move the U.S. Embassy in Israel from Tel Aviv to Jerusalem. The controversial proposal has been in limbo since a similar resolution was passed 21 years ago under the leadership of then-House Speaker Newt Gingrich (R-Ga.).
Critics say that the move would further antagonize the Palestinians and other Muslims in the region, since they consider Jerusalem a holy site. Jerusalem is the site of the Al-Aqsa Mosque where Koranic scholars say Muhammad was taken up to heaven during the "Night Journey."
Moving the embassy to Jerusalem would be a strong sign to Islamic countries that the U.S. recognizes the pre-eminence of the Israeli claim to the site and could increase tensions in an already volatile region.
It's time to do what Congress said we should do in 1995: move our embassy to the capital of our great ally Israel https://t.co/FlhSdUPdcE— Ted Cruz (@Ted Cruz) 1483475756.0
Cruz offered a powerful statement on his bill and used the occasion to also bash President Barack Obama for betraying Israel by abstaining from a U.N. vote condemning Israeli settlements:
Unfortunately, the Obama administration’s vendetta against the Jewish state has been so vicious that to even utter this simple truth — let alone the reality that Jerusalem is the appropriate venue for the American embassy in Israel — is shocking in some circles.
But it is finally time to cut through the double-speak and broken promises and do what Congress said we should do in 1995: formally move our embassy to the capital of our great ally Israel.
Rubio in his statement referred to the history of American presidents since Bill Clinton denying the mandate from Congress:
Jerusalem is the eternal capital of the Jewish state of Israel, and that's where America's embassy belongs. It's time for Congress and the President-Elect to eliminate the loophole that has allowed presidents in both parties to ignore U.S. law and delay our embassy's rightful relocation to Jerusalem for over two decades.
The senators have a willing ally in President-elect Donald Trump, who promised during his campaign that he would order the move as soon as he got into office.