WASHINGTON – United States Senator Bill Hagerty (R-TN) today sent a letter to President Joe Biden seeking clarity on whether the United States will keep the American Embassy in Israel’s capital city of Jerusalem.
The letter comes after the U.S. Senate passed the Hagerty-Inhofe Amendment on Thursday night to ensure the U.S. Embassy remains in Jerusalem, 97 to 3, yet on Friday during a press briefing, the White House refused to answer whether it would follow U.S. law—the Jerusalem Embassy Act of 1995—and maintain the embassy in its current location—creating a discrepancy between two branches of our government.
“Israel is a fellow democracy, a vibrant and dynamic economic partner, and our most important ally in the Middle East. Please do not hesitate any longer to confirm that you will continue to implement U.S. law and maintain the American Embassy in Jerusalem, the eternal and undivided capital of the Jewish State of Israel,” Senator Hagerty wrote.
A copy of the letter is attached and text can be found below.
Dear Mr. President:
I am writing to express my serious concern after a senior administration official, on February 5, 2021, chose not to answer one of the most basic and crucial questions about U.S. foreign policy: whether we will keep the American Embassy in Israel’s capital city of Jerusalem. This is not a difficult question and should not require any deliberation.
This question was posed because, on the previous day, the United States Senate had sent an unequivocal signal on this topic. It overwhelmingly approved an amendment I co-sponsored to maintain the location of the U.S. Embassy in Jerusalem by a vote of 97 to 3. In order to correct the discrepancy that unfortunately now exists between our two branches of government and send an unequivocal message to our allies in Israel, I urge you to confirm—immediately and publicly—that your Administration will continue to implement U.S. law and maintain the American Embassy’s location in Jerusalem.
As you know, the Jerusalem Embassy Act of 1995 (Public Law 104–45) mandated that “the United States Embassy in Israel should be established in Jerusalem no later than May 31, 1999.” No president, however, had implemented the law until President Donald J. Trump, who announced on December 6, 2017, that the United States would begin recognizing Jerusalem as the capital of Israel and implementing plans to officially open the American Embassy there. On May 14, 2018—the 70th anniversary of our Nation becoming the first in the world to recognize Israel as an independent country—the United States officially opened the U.S. Embassy in Jerusalem.
Moreover, it is important to note that our relocation of the U.S. Embassy to Jerusalem set the stage for the Abraham Accords, a wave of landmark U.S.-led peace agreements across the region. I applaud these Accords, and I hope that your Administration will sustain and expand them. Doing so will require that you be clear that you will keep the U.S. Embassy in Jerusalem.
Israel is a fellow democracy, a vibrant and dynamic economic partner, and our most important ally in the Middle East. Please do not hesitate any longer to confirm that you will continue to implement U.S. law and maintain the American Embassy in Jerusalem, the eternal and undivided capital of the Jewish State of Israel.