• Richard Easson

U.S. Senate Votes Overwhelmingly to Keep Embassy in Jerusalem

The U.S. Senate voted overwhelmingly to keep the United States Embassy in Jerusalem with 97 voting in favor and 3 against. The amendment to the coronavirus bill put forward by Senators Jim Inhofe of Oklahoma and Bill Hagerty of Tennessee makes the embassy’s relocation from Tel Aviv to Jerusalem under former president Donald Trump permanent and maintains funding for the diplomatic mission. Apparently not all hope is lost in the Senate.

The three senators that opposed the amendment to the COVID bill were all Democrats: Bernie Sanders, Elizabeth Warren and Tom Carper.

The current U.S. Embassy is being hosted in the former consulate building in the Jerusalem until a permanent establishment is built. The plan to build a permanent complex was approved to move forward in 2019.

Although President Joe Biden has stated that he doesn’t plan on moving the embassy back to its former location in Tel Aviv, he vowed to take a much different approach toward Israel and the Palestinians than the Trump administration did.

During a fundraiser call that took place during the Democratic primary campaign, Biden insisted that he wouldn’t relocate the embassy, but stated that Trump’s move was “short-sighted and frivolous.” Well, now we know exactly what our current president, and three senators, think of our closest ally and center of some of the world’s largest religions.

Last month during his confirmation hearing, the newest Secretary of State, Antony Blinken, was pressed by Republicans to answer to his stance on the sovereignty of Israel. Senator Ted Cruz asked Blinken, "Do you agree that Jerusalem is the capital of Israel and do you commit that the United States will keep our embassy in Jerusalem?" to which he replied “Yes and yes.”

The Biden administration has enormously big shoes to fill when it comes to establishing long sought-after peace in the Middle East. The Trump administration brought about the historically unprecedented Abraham Accords that formed ties between Arab nations and Israel. The Trump administration also recognized that Iran is the biggest threat to establishing any sort of peace in the fragile region and took a step by reversing Iran’s influence and putting them back in their place by backing out of the useless Iran nuclear deal.

The deal, forged by Biden’s former boss Barack Obama in 2015, is possibly going to be reinstated by the Biden administration – a move that could complicate the Abraham Accords and further destroy the massive and unprecedented steps made toward peace in the region by Trump.