Mitt Romney on Sunday declared Jerusalem to be the capital of Israel and said he would seek to move the U.S. embassy there from Tel Aviv as president if the Israeli government ascents.
“A nation has the capacity to choose its own capital city, and Jerusalem is Israel’s capital,” the presumptive Republican presidential nominee said in an interview on CNN, conducted in Jerusalem. “I think it’s long been the policy to ultimately have our embassy in the nation’s capital of Jerusalem.”
Romney gave several televised interviews and delivered a speech in Jerusalem during a trip to Israel aimed at emphasizing his ties to the close U.S. ally and boosting his support among Jewish Americans and supporters of Israel.
“I would follow the same policy we have had in the past, our embassy would be in the capital, and the timing of that is something I would want to work out with the government,” Romney said.
During a separate speech, Romney made a point of referring to Jerusalem as the capital of the Jewish state.
Its status is a critical point of contention in the long-running dispute between Israel and the Palestinians. As a result, recent U.S. presidential administrations have avoided the question and maintained the U.S. embassy presence in Tel Aviv, despite a 1995 law that declares Jerusalem to be the capital.