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13 Jul, 2018 12:59

Trump’s ‘$250,000’ Jerusalem embassy will cost $21+ million to complete

Trump’s ‘$250,000’ Jerusalem embassy will cost $21+ million to complete

Donald Trump boasted that the new US embassy in Jerusalem would be a bargain, but the temporary facility is currently slated to receive more than $21 million in upgrades – a sum almost 100 times larger than the original cost.

Recently released documents show that the US government awarded a firm $21.2 million to design and build “addition and compound security upgrades” at the Jerusalem embassy, which Trump had repeatedly billed as a project that would be easy on taxpayers’ wallets.

“We’re going to have it built very quickly and inexpensively,” Trump told reporters at a March press conference with Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu following his December decision to declare Jerusalem the capital of Israel and relocate the US embassy from Tel Aviv.

“They put an order in front of my desk last week for $1 billion. … We’re actually doing it for about $250,000, so check that out. Now it’s temporary, but it’ll be very nice.”

But Trump’s estimate – perhaps too optimistic – began to gradually increase. The $250,000 grew over the course of a few weeks, with Trump declaring in April that the facility would end up costing between $300,000-$400,000. The final bill to spruce up the former US consulate for its grand opening in May came to $335,000.

The $21.2 million facelift is expected to begin this week and last until April 2020. Trump has made embassy costs into something of a political issue, repeatedly slamming a new $1 billion dollar embassy in London built during the Obama administration. He also criticized the location of the UK embassy as “lousy."

READ MORE: ‘Serious violation’: China fumes as US opens new $256 million ‘de facto embassy’ in Taiwan

Price tag aside, the Jerusalem embassy has become a prickly issue for the Trump administration, which defied international consensus by recognizing Jerusalem as the capital of the Jewish state. In December, the United Nations General Assembly voted by 128 to 9 to declare the United States’ controversial decision as “null and void.”

The opening of the embassy in May also sparked mass demonstrations. Approximately 60 Palestinian protesters were killed and more than 2,000 were injured by Israeli forces.

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