Two Florida Republicans in Congress made the case that Jerusalem is part of Israel this week.
On Wednesday, U.S. Sen. Marco Rubio, R-Fla., teamed up with former presidential primary rivals U.S. Sen. Ted Cruz, R-Texas, and U.S. Sen. Lindsey Graham, R-SC, to officially unveil a resolution urging the U.S. government to move the American embassy in Israel from Tel Aviv to Jerusalem. The three former presidential candidates were joined by U.S. Sen. Dean Heller, R-Nev., in introducing the resolution.
Rubio, Cruz and Heller worked on this issue earlier in the year when they brought out the “Jerusalem Embassy and Recognition Act" which would have moved the embassy.
“Jerusalem is the eternal capital of the Jewish state of Israel, and that's where America's embassy belongs,” Rubio said when he brought out that measure in January. “It's time for Congress and the president-elect to eliminate the loophole that has allowed presidents in both parties to ignore U.S. law and delay our embassy's rightful relocation to Jerusalem for over two decades.”
Despite Congress passing a similar bill in 1995, the embassy still has not been moved. Rubio’s bill would take some funds from the State Department until the embassy moves.
The new resolution reads as follows:
Whereas each sovereign nation, under international law and custom, may designate its own capital;
Whereas, since 1950, the city of Jerusalem has been the capital of the State of Israel;
Whereas the city of Jerusalem is the seat of Israel’s President, Parliament, Supreme Court, and the site of numerous government ministries and social and cultural institutions;
Whereas the city of Jerusalem is the spiritual center of Judaism and is also considered a holy city by members of other religious faiths;
Whereas Jerusalem must remain an undivided city in which the rights of every ethnic and religious group are protected as they have been by Israel since 1967;
Whereas, this year, we commemorate the 50th anniversary of the reunification of Jerusalem and reaffirm the congressional sentiment that Jerusalem must remain an undivided city;
Whereas every citizen of Israel should have the right to reside anywhere in the undivided city of Jerusalem;
Whereas the President and the Secretary of State should publicly affirm as a matter of United States policy that Jerusalem must remain the undivided capital of the State of Israel;
Whereas the President should immediately implement the provisions of the Jerusalem Embassy Act of 1995 (Public Law 104–45) and begin the process of relocating the United States Embassy in Israel to Jerusalem;
Whereas United States officials should refrain from any actions that contradict United States law on this subject; and
Whereas any official document of the United States Government which lists countries and their capital cities should identify Jerusalem as the capital of Israel: Now, therefore, be it
Resolved, That it is the sense of the Senate that—
(1) it should be the policy of the United States to recognize Jerusalem as the undivided capital of the State of Israel both de jure and de facto; and
(2) the United States Embassy should be relocated to Jerusalem.
While President Donald Trump has expressed support to moving the embassy, so far there has been little in the way of action on that front. Despite UN Amb. Nikki Haley saying she backed moving the embassy to Jerusalem, recent reports indicate Trump has no intention of doing so any time soon. Trump is scheduled to leave the country later this week for an international trip which includes a visit to Israel.
Rubio is not the only member of the Florida delegation urging the U.S. to move the embassy to Jerusalem. At the start of the year, U.S. Rep. Ron DeSantis, R-Fla., gathered more than 100 fellow members of Congress to send a letter to Trump urging him to move the embassy to Jerusalem. DeSantis’ effort won the support of some of the members of the Florida delegation including U.S. Rep. Ileana Ros-Lehtinen, R-Fla., who chairs the U.S. House Middle East and North Africa Subcommittee. Other members of the Florida delegation who signed the letter were Republican U.S. Reps. Gus Bilirakis, Carlos Curbelo, Brian Mast and Ted Yoho. Since sending that letter, DeSantis has continued to lead the charge on Capitol Hill to move the embassy.
With reports out that an American diplomat insisted to the Netanyahu government that the Western Wall in Jerusalem was not Israeli territory, DeSantis weighed in on the matter this week.
"The Western Wall is one of the holiest sites in Judaism and there is no reason to be waffling about whether it is properly considered to be a part of Israel,” DeSantis said. “Jerusalem is the eternal and indivisible capital of the Jewish people and of the modern state of Israel. Indeed, soon Israelis will be celebrating the 50th anniversary of the liberation of Jerusalem during the defensive Six Day War. Let's stand with our strong friend and ally and not kowtow to those who seek to do Israel harm."
Trump is scheduled to visit the Western Wall next week.