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Florida lawmakers celebrate embassy opening in Jerusalem

Several Republicans were on hand for event, which contrasted with nearby violence. Democrats offered measured responses.
 
Israel's Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu, 2nd left, his wife Sara Netanyahu, left, Senior White House Advisor Jared Kushner, 3rd left, US President's daughter Ivanka Trump, center, US Treasury Secretary Steve Mnuchin, attend the opening ceremony of the new U.S. embassy in Jerusalem, Monday, May 14, 2018. (Associated Press)
Israel's Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu, 2nd left, his wife Sara Netanyahu, left, Senior White House Advisor Jared Kushner, 3rd left, US President's daughter Ivanka Trump, center, US Treasury Secretary Steve Mnuchin, attend the opening ceremony of the new U.S. embassy in Jerusalem, Monday, May 14, 2018. (Associated Press)
Published May 14, 2018|Updated May 14, 2018

WASHINGTON – Florida lawmakers celebrated the relocation of the U.S. Embassy to Jerusalem, calling it long overdue and a strengthening of ties with Israel, while deaths mounted from clashes along the Israeli-Palestinian border.

Gov. Rick Scott traveled to Israel for the event, as did Florida Republican Reps. Ron DeSantis, Mario Diaz-Balart and Dennis Ross.

"Seventy years ago, the United States first recognized the State of Israel, and today it was an incredible honor to be in Jerusalem and to take part in the historic opening ceremony for the U.S. Embassy as we turn the page to a new chapter of peace and prosperity for both of our nations," said Ross.

Democratic Rep. Lois Frankel of West Palm Beach took  more measured view.

"Opening the U.S. Embassy in Jerusalem, the eternal capital of the Jewish people and the State of Israel, symbolizes the enduring friendship between our nations," she said. "While I join Americans and Israelis in celebrating, I remain disappointed by the absence of a serious commitment to the two-state solution. Divorced from a broader peace process, relocation risks more violence between Israelis and Palestinians. I urge the Administration to put forward a plan with the goal of two states for two peoples, living side by side in peace, security and mutual recognition."

Sen. Marco Rubio:

"The unequivocal recognition of Jerusalem as Israel's capital comes after presidents in both parties stalled our embassy's rightful relocation to Jerusalem from Tel Aviv. So I truly appreciate the Trump Administration for implementing U.S. law and finally moving our embassy. I am pleased that, after America's announcement to move our embassy, countries like Guatemala and then most recently Paraguay, announced their intention to move their embassies as well. And I hope more countries will choose to do the right thing and recognize Jerusalem as the capital of Israel. I look forward to visiting our new embassy in Jerusalem and will continue my work in the Senate to strengthen the alliance with our important ally, Israel."

Rep. Dennis Ross, R-Lakeland:

"Israel is our greatest ally in the Middle East and today we take an important step to strengthen our unique bond by recognizing Jerusalem as its eternal capital and relocating the U.S. Embassy to Israel to Jerusalem. Seventy years ago, the United States first recognized the State of Israel, and today it was an incredible honor to be in Jerusalem and to take part in the historic opening ceremony for the U.S. Embassy as we turn the page to a new chapter of peace and prosperity for both of our nations."

Rep. Brian Mast, R-Palm Coast:

"Like every other sovereign nation, Israel has the right to determine its own capital.  The United States is finally recognizing the truth by moving our embassy to the center of freedom in the Middle East and the capital of Israel, Jerusalem. I chose to volunteer alongside the IDF in Israel after serving in the Army because the United States and Israel share the common values of freedom and democracy.  The Hamas-led terrorism erupting around the Middle East reaffirms that those who oppose Israel's sovereignty are fueled by a murderous and hate-driven ideology in stark opposition to these values.  Today's move sends the clear message that the United States will support our allies and won't tolerate affronts to human dignity."

Rep. Alcee Hastings, D-Miramar:

"In 1995, I voted in favor of the Jerusalem Embassy Act, recognizing Jerusalem as the undivided capital of Israel and committing the United States to relocating its embassy to the city. Jerusalem is, and always will be, the eternal capital of the Jewish people.

"While I am pleased to see this commitment come to fruition, I remain concerned about its impact on the security of our embassies and consulates throughout the world.

"Israel is our closest ally, and we cannot lose sight of the immense challenges the Israeli people face on a daily basis. Israel's security must remain foremost in our bilateral partnership.

"The United States must continue to play a leading role in mediating the Israeli-Palestinian conflict and support a two-state solution that provides for peace, security, and mutual recognition for both the Israeli and Palestinian people.

"The relocation of the U.S. Embassy to Jerusalem must not distract from this critical issue."