by WorldTribune Staff, February 25, 2018
The U.S. State Department on Feb. 23 announced the U.S. Embassy in Jerusalem will open this May.
The significantly accelerated time frame for the opening is meant to “coincide with Israel’s 70th anniversary,” State Department spokesperson Heather Nauert said.
Israel proclaimed independence on May 14, 1948.
Previously, Vice President Mike Pence had said the embassy would open by the end of 2019. Secretary of State Rex Tillerson had said it could take years.
The new embassy will initially be located in Jerusalem’s Arnona neighborhood and will operate out of the current U.S. Consulate General building, Nauert said.
Nauert said the U.S. intends to open a new embassy building in Jerusalem “by the end of next year.”
“In parallel, we have started the search for a site for our permanent embassy to Israel, the planning and construction of which will be a longer-term undertaking,” Nauert said. “We are excited about taking this historic step, and look forward with anticipation to the May opening.”
Also on Feb. 23, U.S. officials told The Associated Press that the Trump administration is considering an offer from Republican donor Sheldon Adelson to pay for at least part of the new embassy.