President Donald Trump announced last week that he would recognize Jerusalem as the capital of Israel and relocate the United State embassy there, a move that drew rare words of support for the president from Rep. Tom Suozzi (D-Glen Cove).
“I support the decision recognizing Jerusalem as the capital of Israel and moving our embassy to this ancient city,” Suozzi said in a statement the day after the president’s announcement. “Jerusalem has been the focal point of Jewish religious devotion and has already been reaffirmed by Congress as the Israeli capital.”
The move fulfills a campaign promise for Trump and breaks with seven decades of American tradition.
Since the United States recognized Israel as a nation in 1948, Jerusalem has not been officially recognized as the capital. And the embassy has been located in Tel Aviv since it opened in 1966.
Jerusalem, the location of holy sites for Jews, Muslims and Christians, has been hotly contested for centuries. In recent decades, both Israel and Palestine have claimed the city as their capital.
According to a report in the New York Times, Arab leaders in the Middle East said the recognition of Jerusalem as the capital of Isreal could lead to unrest.
But Suozzi said that resolutions could be reached peacefully.
“We must continue to work toward a durable and sustainable peace agreement between Israel and the Palestinians resulting in two states — a Jewish, democratic state living side by side next to a demilitarized Palestinian state, in peace and security,” he said.
Suozzi was not the only New York Democrat to support the president’ decision.
Sen. Chuck Schumer told the Weekly Standard that he had advised Trump to make such a move. Rep. Kathleen Rice (D-Garden City) also came out in support of recognizing Jerusalem as the capital while still seeking a two-state solution.
“Jerusalem is the capital of Israel and Jerusalem should be the home of our embassy,” she said. “That’s my belief, it’s consistent with U.S. law, and I support the decision to recognize it as official U.S. policy.”