The Gaza Post|The News of Palestine-Jerusalem
Finance Minister Moshe Kahlon exercised his rarely-used authority to fast-track the process, so that the embassy will be able to move to Jerusalem – in part – in May, in conjunction with the celebrations of Israel’s 70th year.
Kahlon – who tweeted his plan to President Donald Trump last week – plans in the coming days to sign onto the council’s decision to exempt the construction on the U.S.-government owned Diplomat Hotel from going through the Jerusalem Municipality’s bureaucratic process.
“As we promised, we won’t let unnecessary bureaucracy delay moving the American Embassy to Jerusalem, Israel’s eternal capital,” Kahlon said. “This is a diplomatic, strategic move for Israel, and the planning bodies that I head will do all that is necessary to fit the schedule. As Finance minister of the State of Israel, I am thankful for the opportunity to be part of this historic move.”
Trump announced U.S. recognition of Jerusalem as Israel’s capital and the embassy move on December 6, 2017, while reaffirming his commitment to a peace agreement between Israel and the Palestinians stating that he is “not taking a position on… the specific boundaries of the Israeli sovereignty in Jerusalem.”
Kahlon’s part in the embassy move doesn’t only tie him to a move that is very popular to Israel. It is also a chance to score points in his rivalry with Jerusalem Mayor Nir Barkat, who announced this week that he will not seek another term and will run for the Knesset with the Likud, instead.
Barkat has led the municipality to go on strike multiple times during Kahlon’s tenure as finance minister, allowing garbage to pile up around the capital, and leading protests outside the Finance Ministry and claiming Kahlon is depriving Jerusalem – Israel’s poorest large city – of much-needed for.