US Vice President Pence confirms Trump is mulling Israel embassy Jerusalem move
“I am proud to say today America's support for Israel's security is at a record level. And President Trump has made it absolutely clear - our commitment to Israel's defense is not negotiable - not now, not ever,” Pence said at the annual AIPAC (American Israel Public Affairs Committee) Conference in Washington, DC on Sunday.
"The president of the United States is giving serious consideration to moving the American embassy from Tel Aviv to Jerusalem," Pence also said.
“The US will no longer allow the UN to be used as a forum for invective against Israel or the West,” the vice president added.
On Friday, the US Senate confirmed David Friedman as the US ambassador to Israel. Friedman also supports moving the embassy to Jerusalem.
The son of an Orthodox rabbi, Friedman - who has with no previous political experience - has been called an "impassioned advocate" for strong US-Israeli ties and previously accused Barack Obama of “anti-Semitism.”
President Trump has also repeatedly voiced his backing of Israel. In mid-March, the US budget introduced major cuts but urged a boost to military spending and recommended leaving the multi-million aid package to Israel intact.
Reports of the possible relocation of the US embassy have been widely condemned by the Palestinians, who regard Israeli-occupied East Jerusalem as the capital of their potential future state.
In turn, Israel sees the entire city as its historic capital.
The statement by Vice President Pence comes just a day after Iran introduced sanctions against 15 US companies for their alleged backing of Israel and for what the Iranian Foreign Ministry branded as “brutal atrocities” committed against Palestinians.
Pence delivered his speech while Jewish protesters outside the conference blocked the entrance to the Washington Convention Center, urging an end to the Israeli occupation of Palestinian-claimed territory.