The American State Department has put up the ambassador to Israel's official residence in Tel Aviv for sale. Reports claim that the move is aimed at cementing its move to open a new US embassy in Jerusalem in 2018, shortly after recognizing Jerusalem as Israel's capital.
East Jerusalem was captured by Israel in 1967 , triggering a war between Palestine and Israel, both claiming Jerusalem to be their capital. US President Donald Trump has openly shown his support for Israel and even drafted an ambitious ‘Middle East Plan’, giving Israel's claim over Jerusalem legitimacy.
Meanwhile, the State Department has said that the beachfront mansion in affluent Tel Aviv suburb Herzliya was put on sale as most of the day to day activities of Ambassador David Freidman are based in the Jerusalem embassy. Therefore, “it made sense to sell the residence in Herzliya”. Friedman has been a longtime supporter Israel's hard-line settler movement and has played a significant role in embassy’s relocation to Jerusalem.
“Much of the embassy’s operations have shifted to Jerusalem and the ambassador has established an official residence there,” the US department said.
The news for the sale was first published in an Israeli business newspaper on June 29. As per reports, the house is built on a 1.25-acre plot of land and was up for a price of $84 million. If the house sells at the proposed price, it would be the most expensive residential sale in the country. It would also surpass Russian Israeli billionaire Roman Abramovich’s recent purchase of $65 million earlier this year.
Both Benjamin Netanyahu and Benny Ganz have repeated their plans of annexing Jerusalem time and again. They have been supported by the country's right-wing politicians who claim that territory is vital for the country’s security and an inseparable part of the biblical Land of Israel. However, their claim has often received international criticism with many nations calling West bank Israel's "occupied" territory. In addition, international organisations like the UN have slammed Israel for mass killing in the settlements which is home to nearly 500,000 Jewish Israelis.
With inputs from AP
Image credits: AP