Mike Pence revived talks of relocating the US embassy to Jerusalem
But since taking office, the contentious issue appears to have moved to the backburner.
He said President Donald Trump was seriously considering the matter
“After decades of simply talking about it, the president of the United States is giving serious consideration to moving the American embassy from Tel Aviv to Jerusalem,” Pence said in a speech to the influential, pro-Israel US lobbying group AIPAC.
The president of the United States is giving serious consideration to moving the American embassy
Israel regards Jerusalem as its eternal and indivisible capital and wants all countries to base their embassies there, though Israeli politicians also understand that moving the US embassy there could be destabilising.
The relocation is strongly opposed by many US allies as the Palestinians also claim the city as their capital.
The final status of Jerusalem is supposed to be determined via direct negotiations between the Israelis and the Palestinians.
Pence was speaking to the pro-Israel US lobbying group AIPAC The best of President Trump Fri, March 24, 2017
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US President Donald J. Trump gets in the driver's seat of an 18-wheeler while meeting with truck drivers and trucking CEOs on the South Portico prior to their meeting to discuss health care at the White House in Washington, DC
If the United States were to relocate its embassy, it would be seen as an explicit recognition of Jerusalem belonging to Israel, potentially pre-determining the outcome of eventual peace negotiations between Israel and the Palestinians.
The US Senate on Thursday narrowly confirmed Trump's pick to be ambassador to Israel, David Friedman, a bankruptcy lawyer allied with the Israeli right, who favours moving the US embassy to Jerusalem.
Many US allies have strongly opposed the relocation