0113 GMT January 19, 2018
Senators Ted Cruz, Marco Rubio and Dean Heller introduced the Jerusalem Embassy and Recognition Act on Tuesday after being sworn into the 115th Congress in Washington.
Similar moves by Republican majorities over the past two decades have been unsuccessful but this time they are supported by President-elect Donald Trump, who repeatedly pledged, during his campaign, to relocate the embassy to Jerusalem.
The decision, however, goes against the US long-standing policy on the city and the international law. The United Nations officially terms East al-Quds as Palestinian territory, occupied by Israel.
Palestinians have also time and again warned against any attempt to change the status of the city.
“Jerusalem is the eternal and undivided capital of Israel. Unfortunately, the Obama administration’s vendetta against the Jewish state has been so vicious that to even utter this simple truth – let alone the reality that Jerusalem is the appropriate venue for the American embassy in Israel – is shocking in some circles,” Cruz said on Tuesday.
“But it is finally time to cut through the double-speak and broken promises and do what Congress said we should do in 1995: formally move our embassy to the capital of our great ally Israel.”
Heller also said in a statement that he has, for years, “advocated for America’s need to reaffirm its support for one of our nation’s strongest allies by recognizing Jerusalem as the undivided capital of Israel.”
Rubio said that Jerusalem is the place “where America’s embassy belongs,” calling on Trump and Congress to remove any barrier in this regard.
This comes amid renewed tensions between the US and Israel over a UN vote condemning the Israeli settlement construction in the occupied Palestinian territories.
The UN Security Council has recently voted 14-0 to pass Resolution 2334, which demanded an immediate end to Israel’s “illegal” settlement activities.
The US decided to abstain - and not veto - the resolution, allowing it to be adopted. The move angered Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu who accused President Barack Obama and Secretary of State John Kerry of being behind the “shameful” act.