The Israeli District Planning and Building Committee in Jerusalem (Al-Quds) has announced its approval for the construction of a new US Embassy building in the city, AP has reported.
The location of the new building will be on Al-Khalil Road, a central thoroughfare, and not far from the current temporary embassy site.
In a statement on Twitter, Deputy Mayor of Jerusalem (Al-Quds) Fleur Hassan-Nahoum said that although another committee must still grant its approval, she expects this to happen in the coming weeks. "After two years, we're thrilled the local planning committee finally approved it," said Hassan-Nahoum. "We've been waiting for a very, very long time and we're happy it finally passed."
US President Donald Trump moved the US Embassy from Tel Aviv to Jerusalem (Al-Quds) in 2018, in a major foreign policy move that went against decades of international consensus. He has also delighted Israeli leaders and angered Palestinians by recognising contested Al-Quds as Israel's capital.
Moreover, US Ambassador to Israel David Friedman moved his primary office to the existing US consulate in Arnona the following year. The move upset the Arab world and Western allies. Palestinian Authority chief Mahmoud Abbas called it a "slap in the face" and said that the US can no longer be regarded as an honest broker in any peace talks with Israel.
President-elect Joe Biden is expected to take a more balanced approach toward Israel and the Palestinians. However, he has said that he does not plan to move the embassy back to Tel Aviv.