Pence has been a staunch supporter of Israel
Trump signed a waiver in June keeping the embassy in Tel Aviv
Vice President Mike Pence on Monday evening forcefully reiterated the Trump administration’s promise to eventually move the US Embassy in Israel from Tel Aviv to Jerusalem.
“I promise you that the day will come when President Donald Trump moves the American Embassy from Tel Aviv to Jerusalem,” Pence said. “It is not a question of if; it is only when.”
Pence gave the keynote address at the Christians United for Israel summit in Washington. During his speech, Pence cited his longstanding relationship with the group, saying he had spoken before them as a member of Congress and worked with them on legislation he signed as governor against the boycott, divestment and sanction movement, a campaign to put economic pressure on Israel over the treatment of Palestinians.
Before the pro-Israel, Christian audience, Pence received cheers as he listed off the administration’s commitments to Israel and garnered sustained applause at the mention of Trump.
“Under President Donald Trump, if the world knows nothing else, then the world will know this: America stands with Israel, now and always,” Pence said.
Israeli Ambassador Ron Dermer, speaking ahead of Pence, praised the US vice president at length and called Pence’s repeated commitments to Israel since taking office a statement of support for Israel “unrivaled in American history.”
Hours before Pence’s speech, Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu spoke to the summit remotely, focusing part of his remarks on defining Jerusalem as the capital city of Israel.
“The capital of Israel is Jerusalem,” Netanyahu said. “The embassies of the world should be in Jerusalem. I know I believe that. I know you believe that, and I thank you for that support.”
On the campaign trail, Trump called for the United States to move the US Embassy from Tel Aviv to Jerusalem. Such a move had long been considered at odds with US policy that the status of Jerusalem should be settled in negotiations.
The Trump administration has yet to move the embassy. Trump signed a waiver to continue to keep the embassy in Tel Aviv on June 1. At the time, the White House said the decision was made to improve chances of peace between the Israelis and Palestinians, but that the administration would eventually move the embassy.
Every US president has signed such a waiver twice a year after a law was passed in 1995 mandating the relocation of the embassy to Jerusalem.
CNN’s Dan Merica and Oren Liebermann contributed to this report.