US embassy in Jerusalem to cost nearly 100 times Trump’s estimate
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US embassy in Jerusalem to cost nearly 100 times Trump’s estimate

US president has boasted that new mission in Israel’s capital can be built for just $250,000, but firm landed contract at $21.2 million, documents show

A newly hung sign pointing to the US Embassy in Jerusalem, which was inaugurated on May 14, 2018. (Ben Sales/JTA)
A newly hung sign pointing to the US Embassy in Jerusalem, which was inaugurated on May 14, 2018. (Ben Sales/JTA)

The new US embassy in Jerusalem is going to cost a bit more than President Donald Trump had estimated. Make that nearly 100 times more.

The Maryland-based firm Desbuild Limak D&K was awarded a $21.2 million contract to design and build “compound security upgrades” to the embassy, according to official documents uploaded this week, Al-Monitor reported. The US has already spent $335,402 to refurbish the embassy, formerly a consulate, ahead of its May opening.

“We’re going to have it built very quickly and inexpensively,” Trump told reporters in March following his decision months earlier to recognize Jerusalem as Israel’s capital and relocate the US embassy there. “They put an order in front of my desk last week for $1 billion. … We’re actually doing it for about $250,000, so check that out.”

Trump repeated this and similar claims numerous times, eventually raising the price to $400,000 during a news conference with German Chancellor Angela Merkel.

View of the US embassy in Jerusalem’s Arnona neighborhood, Israel, May 13, 2018. (Yonatan Sindel/Flash90)

“As the president stated, the cost of initial modifications made to permit the embassy to open on May 14 was approximately $400,000,” a State Department official told Al-Monitor. “Following the May 14 opening, we have moved on to planning for and construction of a new extension and security enhancements at the interim site.”

The $21.5 million total “is actually a lot for that considering that they have plans apparently to purchase a new facility,” an aide in the House of Representatives told Al-Monitor.

The Trump administration has not announced when it plans to begin construction on a permanent embassy.

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