On Wednesday, Mike Pompeo was sworn in as Secretary of State, replacing Rex Tillerson. During the ceremony, Pompeo reaffirmed the Trump administration’s plans to move the U.S. embassy in Tel Aviv to Jerusalem very soon (emphasis added):
We are but 15 months into this administration and we’ve already made outstanding progress by speaking the truth about the challenges we face, by confronting them head on, by partnering with strong, sovereign, independent nations to make America and the world more prosperous and secure.
We put hurt on the ISIS caliphate in Iraq and Syria. We’ve done so by great, diplomatic work. We’re confronting all types of Iranian hostility and are deciding on the next steps for the flawed JCPOA [Iran Nuclear Agreement]. We have imposed real consequences on Russia for its acts of aggression, and we will soon move our embassy in Israel to Jerusalem years ahead of schedule.
On December 6, 2017, President Trump announced that the United States would officially recognize Jerusalem as the capital of Israel, stating in part:
In 1995, Congress adopted the Jerusalem Embassy Act, urging the federal government to relocate the American embassy to Jerusalem and to recognize that that city — and so importantly — is Israel’s capital. This act passed Congress by an overwhelming bipartisan majority and was reaffirmed by a unanimous vote of the Senate only six months ago.
Yet, for over 20 years, every previous American president has exercised the law’s waiver, refusing to move the U.S. embassy to Jerusalem or to recognize Jerusalem as Israel’s capital city.
Presidents issued these waivers under the belief that delaying the recognition of Jerusalem would advance the cause of peace. Some say they lacked courage, but they made their best judgments based on facts as they understood them at the time. Nevertheless, the record is in. After more than two decades of waivers, we are no closer to a lasting peace agreement between Israel and the Palestinians. It would be folly to assume that repeating the exact same formula would now produce a different or better result.
Therefore, I have determined that it is time to officially recognize Jerusalem as the capital of Israel. …
However, through all of these years, presidents representing the United States have declined to officially recognize Jerusalem as Israel’s capital. In fact, we have declined to acknowledge any Israeli capital at all.
But today, we finally acknowledge the obvious: that Jerusalem is Israel’s capital. This is nothing more, or less, than a recognition of reality. It is also the right thing to do. It’s something that has to be done.
That is why, consistent with the Jerusalem Embassy Act, I am also directing the State Department to begin preparation to move the American embassy from Tel Aviv to Jerusalem. This will immediately begin the process of hiring architects, engineers, and planners, so that a new embassy, when completed, will be a magnificent tribute to peace.
The embassy is scheduled to move from Tel Aviv to a temporary site in Jerusalem on May 14, the 70-year anniversary of Israeli independence. A new, permanent embassy will be built at a later date.