U.S. Secretary of State Rex Tillerson lost no time Wednesday in following up the historic declaration by President Donald Trump, recognizing Jerusalem as the capital of Jerusalem and announcing plans to move America’s embassy there from Tel Aviv.
“President Trump‘s decision to recognize Jerusalem as Israel’s capital aligns U.S. presence with the reality that Jerusalem is home to Israel’s legislature, Supreme Court, President’s office, and Prime Minister‘s office,” Tillerson said in a statement issued by his office immediately following Trump’s address.
“We have consulted with many friends, partners, and allies in advance of the President making his decision. We firmly believe there is an opportunity for a lasting peace.
“As the President said in his remarks today, ‘Peace is never beyond the grasp of those willing to reach it.’ The President decided today, as Congress first urged in the Jerusalem Embassy Act in 1995, and has reaffirmed regularly since, to recognize Jerusalem as the capital of Israel,” Tillerson noted.
“The State Department will immediately begin the process to implement this decision by starting the preparations to move the U.S. Embassy from Tel Aviv to Jerusalem.
“The safety of Americans is the State Department’s highest priority, and in concert with other federal agencies, we’ve implemented robust security plans to protect the safety of Americans in affected regions.”
Tillerson, Defense Secretary James Mattis and National Security Adviser H.R. McMaster all had previously expressed their reservations about this course of action, telling the president they believed it made more sense to stay the course with the current status quo.
Their different views, however, did not impact in any way on their prompt implementation of the president’s decision: U.S. Marine FAST teams had already been deployed overseas to protect personnel at various U.S. Embassies around the world well before the first words of Wednesday’s historic speech began.