'I never thought I'd live to see the day'

US senators in Jerusalem celebrate embassy move: 'I voted for the move in 1995, but it took Trump to make it happen. I'm lucky to see it.'

Eliran Baruch, | updated: 12:48

Senators Graham, Cruz, Lee, Heller
Senators Graham, Cruz, Lee, Heller
Eliran Aharon

US lawmakers who joined the 250-member delegation to Israel for the unveiling of the new US embassy in Jerusalem slated for Monday afternoon met with reporters at the King David Hotel in Jerusalem Monday morning, expressing their satisfaction with the decision to move the embassy.

Senators Ted Cruz (R-Texas), Lindsay Graham (R-SC), Mike Lee (R-Utah), and Dean Heller (R-Nevada) arrived in Israel on Sunday for the opening ceremony of the new US embassy. The four lawmakers gathered at the King David Hotel to share their thoughts on the historic move.

"I'm feeling happy, I feel I'm lucky to live to see this happen,” said Graham. The South Carolina senator noted that during his first year in Congress, during his tenure in the House of Representatives, he voted for the 1995 Jerusalem Embassy Act, which required that the US embassy be moved from Tel Aviv to Jerusalem by 1999. From 1999 to 2017, however, Republican and Democratic presidents used six-month security waivers to delay implementation of the law.

“I came to Congress in 1995 and I voted in my first year of being in Congress to recognize Jerusalem as the capital of Israel. And I scratched my head, being new to Congress, why is that an issue. Cleveland is certainly not the capital of Israel. Everybody in South Carolina believes that Jerusalem is the capital of Israel. The Jewish people believe that. The archeological evidence shows that."

Graham said the move would advance regional peace by removing affirming Israel’s possession of Jerusalem – a perquisite for any future peace deal, the senator said.

"I feel good that 20-something years later, under Donald Trump's leadership we're now saying the obvious. And I do feel that this advances peace. You can never have a peace agreement that doesn't recognize Jerusalem as the capital of Israel. I believe it makes the world safer when the American president is seen as more reliable. He got out of an Iran deal that was bad for the region and the world and he recognized the capital of Israel to be Jerusalem because it is. And people in North Korea are going to look at him differently."

To critics of the embassy move, Graham suggested they “take it up with God”, not President Trump.

'If you've got a problem with Jerusalem being the capital of Israel, take it up with God - because that's where it all started."

Senator Cruz also highlighted the failure of the prior three presidents to implement the 1995 Jerusalem Embassy Act, praising Trump for keeping his 2016 campaign promise to relocate the embassy.

"Presidents from both parties have been elected promising to move the embassy to Jerusalem and to recognize Jerusalem as the capital,” said Cruz. “And presidents of both parties have failed to follow through on that commitment. I commend President Trump for keeping his word. This is important."

"Last night Lindsay and I were both at a dinner here in Jerusalem celebrating this decision. And multiple people came up to me and said, 'I never thought I would live to see the day.'"

"This has been 70 years in the making. This is history. And it is a great day for Israel and for America."








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