The State Department announced Friday that the new U.S. Embassy in Jerusalem will open this May.
According to the announcement: “The opening will coincide with Israel’s 70th anniversary. The Embassy will initially be located in the Arnona neighborhood, in a modern building that now houses consular operations of U.S. Consulate General Jerusalem.”
Using a pre-existing location allows the United States to avoid diplomatic difficulties that might arise from the move, The Washington Examiner reports.
With that, the United States will become the first country to place its embassy to Israel in Jerusalem. It is customary for diplomats to make their headquarters in a nation’s capital, but the Israeli-Palestinian conflict — in particular, disputes about which side should control what parts of Jerusalem — have prompted most international embassies to set up their offices in Tel Aviv.
The U.S. relocation comes months after Trump recognized Jerusalem as the capital of Israel.
Officials in President Donald Trump’s administration, including Secretary of State Rex Tillerson, say the US’ recognition of Jerusalem does not prejudge the settlement of the conflict between the Palestinians and the Israelis.
The full announcement may be read below:
The opening will coincide with Israel’s 70th anniversary. The Embassy will initially be located in the Arnona neighborhood, in a modern building that now houses consular operations of U.S. Consulate General Jerusalem. Those consular operations, including American citizen and visa services, will continue at the Arnona facility without interruption, as part of the Embassy.
Consulate General Jerusalem will continue to operate as an independent mission with an unchanged mandate, from its historic Agron Road location. Initially, the interim Embassy in Arnona will contain office space for the Ambassador and a small staff. By the end of next year, we intend to open a new Embassy Jerusalem annex on the Arnona compound that will provide the Ambassador and his team with expanded interim office space. In parallel, we have started the search for a site for our permanent Embassy to Israel, the planning and construction of which will be a longer-term undertaking. We are excited about taking this historic step, and look forward with anticipation to the May opening.