ALBANY — Republican congressional lawmakers who represent Southwest Georgia were supportive Wednesday of President Trump’s decision to recognize Jerusalem as the capital of Israel.
“I have determined that it is time to officially recognize Jerusalem as the capital of Israel,” Trump, who had promised to recognize Jerusalem during his presidential campaign, said. “After more than two decades of waivers, we are no closer to a lasting peace agreement between Israel and the Palestinians.”
U.S. Sen. David Perdue, R-Sea Island, quickly applauded Trump’s decision, which has received a chilly response from U.S. allies who see it as counterproductive to Israeli-Palestinian peace efforts.
“It’s long overdue we send a powerful message of support to one of our closest allies, Israel,” Perdue, a member of the Senate Armed Services Committee, said. “I commend President Trump for taking continued steps to reaffirm the United States’ relationship with Israel after years of questionable policies from the Obama Administration.
“As a new U.S. senator, I made my first international trip to Israel and personally met with Prime Minister Netanyahu. By recognizing Jerusalem as the capital of Israel, the president is recognizing both an historic and modern reality, Jerusalem is the center for the Jewish people and all parts of Israeli government reside there today. President Trump has shown Israel is a priority, and we will continue to work together in support of our longtime friend and ally.”
U.S. Sen. Johnny Isakson, R-Marietta, said, “Israel has been a reliable and valuable partner to the United States in a volatile region. For nearly seven decades, Jerusalem has been recognized as the capital of Israel and the seat of its democratic institutions. Two decades ago, Congress passed bipartisan legislation recognizing the same reality. Today’s news solidifies that the United States is steadfast in our commitment to Israel.
“As we start the process of moving the U.S. embassy from Tel Aviv, we must ensure the safety of our diplomatic corps. If we continue to work closely with Israel and with our other regional partners, the United States can be a catalyst for a lasting peace in the Middle East.”
U.S. Rep. Austin Scott, R-Tifton, echoed the senators’ sentiments in a brief statement.
“I applaud President Trump’s historic decision to recognize Jerusalem as Israel’s capital and relocate our embassy from Tel Aviv to Jerusalem, continuing the United States’ commitment to the Jewish people,” Scott said.
An email to the office of U.S. Rep. Sanford Bishop, D-Albany, did not receive a response Wednesday.
In his statement Wednesday, Trump said the U.S. would move its embassy from Tel Aviv to Jerusalem.
“In 1995, Congress adopted the Jerusalem Embassy Act, urging the federal government to relocate the American embassy to Jerusalem and to recognize that that city — and so importantly — is Israel’s capital,” Trump said. “This act passed Congress by an overwhelming bipartisan majority and was reaffirmed by a unanimous vote of the Senate only six months ago.
“Yet, for over 20 years, every previous American president has exercised the law’s waiver, refusing to move the U.S. embassy to Jerusalem or to recognize Jerusalem as Israel’s capital city.”
The president said he expected opposition to his decision.
“There will, of course, be disagreement and dissent regarding this announcement,” he said. “But we are confident that ultimately, as we work through these disagreements, we will arrive at a peace and a place far greater in understanding and cooperation.”
Trump said peace efforts would continue and called for moderate, younger voices in the Middle East to prevail.
“Israel is a sovereign nation with the right like every other sovereign nation to determine its own capital,” he said. “Acknowledging this as a fact is a necessary condition for achieving peace.”