US to convert Jerusalem consulate into embassy by end of 2019

Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu meets with President Donald Trump, in New York during the US presidential campaign, on September 25, 2016. (Photo by Kobi Gideon/GPO)

JERUSALEM, Israel – A day after media speculation over seemingly divergent statements on the timing of the US Embassy move to Jerusalem, US officials have reportedly told media outlets it will now take place by the end of 2019.

On Wednesday, Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu told reporters in India the move would take place “much faster than people think, within a year from today.”

Hours later, Trump seemingly rebuffed the possibility in an interview with Reuters.

“By the end of the year?” Trump said when asked about it. “We’re talking about different scenarios — I mean obviously that would be on a temporary basis. We’re not really looking at that. That’s no.”

The divergent statements sparked Israeli media criticism of Netanyahu, but he wasn’t buying it, insisting that Israel and the US were tracking together on the timing of the move. There were reports that the US was considering “interim measures” for now.

By week’s end, the Wall Street Journal and the New York Times both reported the move will take place by the end of the following year.

According to the reports, the Trump administration will begin converting the US consular building in Jerusalem’s Arnona neighborhood to the new embassy to be ready about two years after President Trump’s official recognition on December 6, 2017, of Jerusalem as the capital of Israel.

The announcement created a huge backlash and a UN Security Council resolution rejecting the decision.

This article originally appeared on CBN News, January 20, 2018, and reposted with permission.