The U.S. Embassy in Israel will move to Jerusalem by the end of 2019, U.S. Vice President Mike Pence said in a speech to the Israeli parliament on Monday that highlighted a policy shift that has stoked Palestinian anger and international concern.
President Donald Trump last month recognized Jerusalem as the capital of Israel and said he would move the U.S. Embassy there — dismaying Palestinians who claim the eastern part of the city and angering Arab states across the region.
"In the weeks ahead, our administration will advance its plan to open the United States Embassy in Jerusalem and that United States Embassy will open before the end of next year," Pence said.
"Jerusalem is Israels capital and, as such, President Trump has directed the State Department to immediately begin preparations to move the United States Embassy from Tel Aviv to Jerusalem."
The speech was briefly disrupted, at the outset, by Israeli Arab parliament members who held up protest signs in Arabic and English, reading "Jerusalem is the capital of Palestine", and were ejected by ushers.
Pence responded to the fracas by saying with a smile: "It is deeply humbling for me to stand before this vibrant democracy."
Though shunned by the Palestinians, the Trump administration says it remains committed to helping them and Israel negotiate a peace deal. Those talks have been stalled for almost four years.