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New American Embassy in Jerusalem Gets Green Light

U.S. Embassy

The plan for the American Embassy in Jerusalem (Illustration Studio Yigal Levi)

The city of Jerusalem has given the green light for building a planned new U.S. Embassy compound in Jerusalem. The Jerusalem Local Planning and Building Committee approved the building proposal, so now the American government can apply for the needed permits to begin construction. This is considered just a formality.

The compound is to be located on the heavily trafficked Hebron. It will be bordered by Daniel Yanovski Street and Hanoch Albek Street. For people familiar with the area, it is just after the turn off to the Abutor neighborhood and will neighbor the Yes Planet movie multiplex.

The new U.S. will comprise 53,000 square meters (570,000 square feet) of space on about 7 acres of land. In addition to a ten-story main office building, it will also include staff residences, parking lots, car maintenance facilities, and security and surveillance structures.

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The news comes six months after the plans were first revealed.

At that time Jerusalem Deputy Mayor Fleur Hassan-Nahoum said, “This new location of the US Embassy in such a central location will upgrade the neighborhood’s urban view and will connect it with all areas of the capital via a network of light rails that will stop almost at the door of the embassy building.”

It was in December 2017 that former President Donald Trump officially recognized Jerusalem as Israel’s capital. “Today we finally acknowledge the obvious: that Jerusalem is Israel’s capital,” Donald Trump said when he made the announcement from the Diplomatic Reception Room of the White House. “This is nothing more or less than a recognition of reality. It is also the right thing to do. It’s something that has to be done.”

So, when that happened what had been the American Embassy in Israel for decades – located right above the beech there in a simple unadorned, concrete, rectangular building – was downgraded to the status of consulate, and the new U.S. consulate compound in Jerusalem that had only recently opened became the American embassy. But, even having been designed with the idea that the consulate compound might someday become an embassy, it is still too small for the needs of a full embassy. So the new compound will now be built not far from there.

“This is an important plan that serves as a landmark for the city, which besides its symbolic importance, is expected to be a focal point for extensive public, economic, and diplomatic activities. It will provide hundreds of new job opportunities in the city, relying on the excellent service of the light rail along Derech Hebron,” Architect Dan Keenan, from the Jerusalem District Planning Committee, said.



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