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Report: Under PM’s pressure, panel to give swift okay to US Embassy location

PM said to push for expedited process ahead of Trump’s departure from White House; committee to approve 2 locations, since Washington hasn’t yet picked between them

View of the US Consulate in Jerusalem's Arnona neighborhood, Israel, shortly before it became the American embassy in Israel, February 24, 2018. (Yonatan Sindel/Flash90)
View of the US Consulate in Jerusalem's Arnona neighborhood, Israel, shortly before it became the American embassy in Israel, February 24, 2018. (Yonatan Sindel/Flash90)

Days before US President Donald Trump’s term ends and under pressure from Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu’s office, a Jerusalem Municipality committee will convene Wednesday to grant approval to two different locations that could potentially become the home of the permanent US Embassy in Israel, according to a report Tuesday.

According to Kan News, the move has been expedited in light of Trump’s imminent departure from the White House. The outgoing president moved the embassy from Tel Aviv to Jerusalem in 2018, in a major foreign policy move that went against decades of international consensus.

The quickened process appeared to be an attempt to further create facts on the ground that would make it harder for the upcoming administration of Joe Biden to reverse the move — though he isn’t believed to be planning to do so anyway.

Kan reported that in an irregular move, the planning committee will urgently convene to approve two separate sites as the location of the permanent embassy which is set to replace the current, temporary mission situated at the former US Consulate in the Arnona neighborhood.

Kan cited a source involved in the plan’s details as saying Netanyahu’s decision to push for the approval of two different locations stemmed from the fact that the Americans haven’t yet decided where the permanent embassy will be.

A newly-hung sign points to the US embassy in Jerusalem, inaugurated on May 14, 2018. (Ben Sales/JTA)

One option is to have the temporary mission in Arnona converted into a permanent embassy. The second potential location is a still-under-construction diplomatic compound, to be named after British Mandate governor Edmund Henry Hynman Allenby, in the city’s Talpiot neighborhood.

The plan to build a permanent embassy structure in Jerusalem was approved in 2019, but the location hasn’t yet been announced or approved.

US President Donald Trump recognized Jerusalem as Israel’s capital on December 6, 2017, and moved the embassy into the Arnona compound on May 14, 2018.

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