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Israeli Official Says Transfer of U.S. Embassy from Telaviv to Jerusalem is Important to Israel

A senior Israeli official affirmed today that the transfer of the American Embassy from Tel Aviv to Jerusalem was an important issue for Israel. He told reporters after the Cabinet meeting that the present situation in which the U.S. and other countries maintain their Embassies in Tel Aviv is “abnormal and unjust” and that the government of Israel regards this matter with all seriousness.

The official stressed that Israel did not initiate the current moves in Congress to seek a transfer of the Embassy. But once the moves had begun in Congress, Israel saw “no reason” to stop them.

Sen. Daniel Moynihan (D. NY) has introduced a bill (S. 2031) requiring that the Embassy be moved to Jerusalem. He said his bill has 28 sponsors in the Senate. A similar bill was introduced in the House by Reps. Tom Lantos (D. Calif.) and Benjamin Gilman (R. NY).

The Senate Foreign Relations Committee heard testimony last week from proponents and opponents of the move. One of the opponents was Lawrence Eagleburger, Undersecretary of State for Political Affairs, who contended that moving the Embassy would undermine America’s ability to play an effective role in the Middle East peace process.