The relocation of the United States embassy in Israel to Jerusalem was called for Tuesday by Ron Dermer, the Israeli ambassador to the U.S.
Speaking in Washington at the Israeli embassy’s annual Hanukkah party, Dermer said relocating the embassy is a long overdue move and that it would be a “great step forward to peace” by sending “a strong message against the delegitimization of Israel.“
“Israel hopes that next year, when the new American ambassador to Israel lights the menorah in his embassy, he will light it in the same city where the Maccabees lit it 2,200 years ago,” Dermer said at the event. Orthodox Jewish bankruptcy lawyer David Friedman was chosen this month by President-Elect Donald Trump as the U.S. ambassador to Israel. A staunch opponent of the two-state solution, Friedman is an advocate of Israeli settlement expansion and has provoked controversy by referring to the liberal Jewish organization J Street as “kapos.”
Though Jerusalem was recognized as Israel’s capital by Congress in 1995, the relocation of the U.S. embassy to Jerusalem has been put off by previous presidents through a waiver allowing the delay for national security reasons. Contrary to Dermer’s sunny outlook, Saeb Erekat, the Palestinian Authority’s chief negotiator, said this week that relocating the embassy would prompt his immediate resignation and would completely derail the peace process.