U.S. Embassy in Israel to open ahead of schedule this May

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WASHINGTON (AP) — President Donald Trump says moving the U.S. Embassy in Israel to Jerusalem is “the right thing to do.”

Officials said the new U.S. Embassy in Jerusalem will open in May 2018 to coincide with the 70th anniversary of Israel declaring independence.

Trump addressed his decision to move the embassy from Tel Aviv at the Conservative Political Action Conference. He said foreign countries put pressure on him not to move the embassy and begged him, “Don’t do it, don’t do it.”

The campaign against moving the embassy was “incredible,” Trump added, but he says the campaign in favor of moving the embassy was also incredible.

Congress was told of the May opening date for the new embassy on Friday. Secretary of State Rex Tillerson signed off on the security plan for the new embassy on Thursday.

The officials weren’t authorized to discuss the plan publicly and spoke on condition of anonymity.

A ribbon-cutting is being planned for mid-May. Israel proclaimed independence on May 14, 1948.

The May opening marks a significant acceleration. Vice President Mike Pence had said previously the embassy would open by the end of 2019. And Tillerson had said it could take years.

Initially, the embassy will consist of just a few offices inside an existing U.S. facility in Jerusalem.