WASHINGTON — As Donald Trump prepares for his first trip as president to the Middle East, Nevada Sen. Dean Heller is joining three other Republican senators in calling on the U.S. State Department to observe a decades-old law by recognizing the city of Jerusalem as the capital of Israel.
Trump, who is scheduled to depart on Friday, is expected to travel to Saudi Arabia and Israel before continuing on to Rome and Brussels.
In advance of that trip, Heller, along with with Sens. Ted Cruz, R-Texas, Marco Rubio, R-Fla., and Lindsey Graham, R-S.C., filed a resolution urging the State Department to comply with a decades-old law recognizing Jerusalem as the Israeli capital by relocating the U.S. Embassy from Tel Aviv.
“It’s been more than 20 years since the legislation to move the U.S. Embassy from Tel Aviv to Jerusalem became law, yet we have still not fulfilled our commitment to Israel to do so,” Heller said.
Trump pledged to move the U.S. Embassy to Jerusalem during the 2016 presidential race, but since his election the White House has taken a more cautious line. Vice President Mike Pence said early this month that the administration was “seriously considering” making the move.
Arab leaders and State Department officials have warned against a relocation, citing the possibility for violence in the region and damage to the peace process between Israelis and Palestinians, who consider the eastern part of the city as theirs and the capital of a future Palestinian state.
Since the law to relocate the embassy was passed in 1995, U.S. Presidents Bill Clinton, George W. Bush and Barack Obama have delayed the move because of ongoing tensions, as well as efforts to reach a peace agreement between Israel and the Palestinian Authority.
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