A few months after the American president deferred moving the American embassy in Israel from Tel Aviv to Jerusalem, U.S. Vice President Mike Pence reassured Israel supporters on Tuesday that the president is still “actively considering” how to do so.
Pence made the remarks at an event in New York commemorating the 70th anniversary of the UN vote to partition Palestine into separate Jewish and Arab states, a move many credit for the creation of the State of Israel.
“While for the past 20 years, Congress and successive administrations have expressed a willingness to move our embassy, as we speak, President Donald Trump is actively considering when and how to move the American Embassy in Israel from Tel Aviv to Jerusalem,” Pence said.
After promises during the presidential campaign that he would move the American Embassy in Israel to Jerusalem, Trump shocked many when he opted in June to defer the move, something that all presidents have done since 1995 when the U.S. Congress mandated that the embassy be relocated to Jerusalem.
“While Israel was built by human hands, it’s impossible not to see the hand of heaven here, too.”
Israel recognizes Jerusalem as its capital, but many other countries consider Jerusalem disputed territory and fear angering Palestinians and Arab states by moving their nations’ embassies to Jerusalem. Hence, most embassies are located in Tel Aviv.
“Israel didn’t need a resolution to call for its existence, because its right to exist is self-evident, and timeless,” Pence said, addressing a U.N. gathering hosted by Israel’s Ambassador to the U.N. Danny Danon. “While Israel was built by human hands, it’s impossible not to see the hand of heaven here, too.”
Pence received a standing ovation from the audience in Flushing, N.Y. at the Queens Museum, site of the original United Nations vote in 1947.
“As President Trump says, ‘If the world knows nothing else, let them know this: America stands with Israel,’” he said. “Under our administration, America will always stand with Israel.”
Trump visited Israel in May during his first international trip as president. The visit was considered highly successful and the American president was received warmly by Israelis.
Under the Trump administration and with U.S. Ambassador to the U.N. Nikki Haley, America has taken steps to address anti-Israel and anti-Semitic sentiment at the world body. Pence declared “the days of Israel-bashing at the United Nations are over.”