I reported this weekend on reports that the U.S. planned to move our Embassy from Tel Aviv, to Israel’s capital Jerusalem, by the end of 2019.

This timetable, which was faster than the 3-4 years previously discussed for building a new Embassy, was based on renovating the existing U.S. Consulate in Jerusalem, the main location of which was built in 2010 and is actually larger than the Tel Aviv embassy.

https://www.google.com/maps/place/U.S.+Consular+Section/@31.7468057,35.225795,648m/data=!3m1!1e3!4m5!3m4!1s0x0:0x45970797f2161c03!8m2!3d31.7476116!4d35.2246196

Those reports were confirmed today when VP Mike Pence addressed the Israeli parliament, the Knesset. Pence, the first American VP afforded that honor, was given a rousing welcome by Israeli Prime Minster Bibi Netanyahu:

In his speech shortly before Pence’s address, Netanyahu said the Trump administration’s recognition of Jerusalem would be given a place in Israel’s history alongside the 1917 Balfour Declaration, the establishment of the state, and US President Harry S. Truman’s recognition.

“On the matter of recognition of Jerusalem as our capital, I believe I speak for nearly all of us, coalition and opposition alike, when I express our deep appreciation for President Trump and you for the historic statement that will never be forgotten,” said Netanyahu.

“It’s fitting that you are the first American vice president to speak at the Knesset in Jerusalem. Fitting because no American vice president has had a greater commitment to Israel and its people,” said the prime minister.

Pence was interrupted at the start of his speech by members of the Joint Arab List parliamentary group (which does not represent all Arab members of the Knesset and which has Jewish members). They held up signs in English stating that “Jerusalem is the capital of Palestine.”

Pence must have been warned about the planned disruption, because he had a wonderful comeback. Video via Israellycool:

“It is deeply humbling to me to stand before this vibrant DEMOCRACY.”

But the real headline was that the Embassy move would take place in 2019 (but you knew that already if you read Legal Insurrection). The Times of Israel reports:

In a landmark address to the Knesset on Monday, US Vice President Mike Pence pledged the US would relocate its embassy from Tel Aviv to Jerusalem by the “end of next year,” called on the Palestinians to return to the negotiating table for peace talks, and vowed Washington would withdraw from the “disaster” Iran nuclear deal unless it was “fixed.” ….

In his remarks, Pence emphatically stressed that Jerusalem is Israel’s capital.

“Just last month, President Donald Trump made history. He righted a 70 year wrong, he kept his promise to the American people,” in announcing the recognition of Israel’s capital, said Pence, who is the first American vice president to address Israel’s parliament.

“The US Embassy will open [in Jerusalem] before the end of next year,” said Pence.

Here is the full speech:

Pence did not meet with the Palestinian Authority because it is BOYCOTTING U.S. DIPLOMACY due to the Embassy move and recognition of Jerusalem as the capital of Israel. In related news, the Palestinian Authority is NOT BOYCOTTING OUR FOREIGN AID.