'Israel will not give up Jerusalem'

Dr. Dore Gold, former Israeli Ambassador to the UN, tells Congress members that moving the embassy would bring a diplomatic solution closer.

Nitsan Keidar ,

Dr. Dore Gold
Dr. Dore Gold
PR photo

Dr. Dore Gold, president of the Jerusalem Center for Public Affairs and former Israeli Ambassador to the United Nations, testified on Wednesday before members of the House Oversight Committee's National Security Subcommittee during a hearing entitled, “Moving the American embassy in Israel to Jerusalem: Challenges and opportunities.”

The hearing was attended by John Bolton, the former United States Ambassador to the United Nations, and by members of Congress from both parties.

“It is my view that President Donald Trump has made a commitment regarding the transfer of the U.S. embassy to Jerusalem and I believe he will stand by what he has said. Indeed, on June 1 the White House released a statement stressing with regard to moving the embassy, 'The question is not if that move happens but only when,'” said Dr. Gold, who added, "Israel will never give up Jerusalem. This was Israel's choice and Jerusalem will continue to be the capital of Israel.”

"In my opinion, the transfer of the embassy will only bring the possibility of a diplomatic solution closer," Gold stressed.

He also noted that Israel has done more to ensure religious freedom in Jerusalem and protect the city’s holy sites than anyone else.

"Jerusalem before was a mess," Gold said, adding that Israel has to protect Jerusalem for "all peoples and all faiths."

"Only a free and democratic Israel will protect the holy sites of all the great faiths in Jerusalem," he said.

Rep. Ron DeSantis (R-FL), chair of the subcommittee, said U.S.-Israel relations are being harmed by the government's refusal to uphold a 1995 law mandating that the U.S. embassy in Israel be moved from Tel Aviv to Jerusalem.

"Jerusalem has been the capital of the Jewish people for thousands of years and is the beating heart of the modern Israel. Why should we reject the chosen capital city of a close ally?" he said.

"it is absurd that Israel is the only nation in the world where our embassy is not located in the nation's capital city. This is no way to treat an ally, much less one of our closest allies,” added DeSantis.

President Donald Trump promised during his 2016 White House campaign to move the embassy to the Israeli capital if elected.

Since the election last November, however, Trump had remained mum on whether he intended to follow through on his pledge.

In June, Trump decided to sign a presidential waiver on the Jerusalem Embassy Act, delaying the embassy move for six months.

The waiver delaying the implementation of a 1995 decision by Congress to move the embassy has been signed by every U.S. President since that time.

Most recently, Trump said he wanted to give his efforts to reach peace between Israelis and Palestinian Arabs a chance before moving the embassy from Tel Aviv to Jerusalem.