State Department prioritizes funding for Jerusalem embassy

In budget proposal for 2019, State Department prioritizes funding for facility for embassy in Jerusalem.

Elad Benari,

State Department building
State Department building
Thinkstock

The U.S. State Department is prioritizing funding for a facility for the U.S. embassy in Jerusalem, according to its Fiscal Year (FY) 2019 budget proposal, which was published on Monday.

In addition, the proposal includes a request to continue the military funding for Israel.

Under a clause entitled “Protecting U.S. Overseas Personnel and Facilities”, the proposal says the Trump administration is “prioritizing funding for a U.S. Embassy facility in Jerusalem which will begin once design and construction plans are finalized.”

Another close entitled “Upholding Commitments to Our Allies” reads: “Supporting the recent 10-year Memorandum of Understanding between the U.S. and Israel, this request provides $3.3 billion in Foreign Military Financing for Israel.”

Moving the American embassy from Tel Aviv to Jerusalem was a central campaign promise of President Donald Trump’s. In December, he announced that he recognized Jerusalem as Israel’s capital and ordered the State Department to begin preparations for the embassy move.

Last month, Prime Minister Binyamin Netanyahu told reporters that he expects the U.S. embassy to move to Jerusalem within the coming year.

While Trump later rejected that idea and said the move would take longer, a subsequent report indicated the move to Jerusalem is indeed expected by 2019, with the plan being to convert an existing consular building in Arnona, a neighborhood in western Jerusalem.

As for the security cooperation, the two allies signed a memorandum of understanding in September 2016 which grants Israel $3.8 billion annually beginning in 2018 and through 2028.

After the memorandum of understanding was signed, Republican senators said they would seek to overturn part of it so that Israel can receive even more aid.


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