US envoy to Israel lives in luxury rent, Trump’s legacy

Jerusalem (AFP) – There is no plaque on the gate of the US ambassador’s new residence in Jerusalem, no visible stars and stripes, and no official listing as a notable property abroad.

The official residence of the US envoy is rent and temporary, officials said, and was secured after two years of searching for a home in the wake of President Donald Trump’s controversial decision to move the US embassy from Tel Aviv to Jerusalem.

Ambassador Tom Nedis moved into the elegantly renovated villa in the leafy German colony of West Jerusalem sometime last spring. Local real estate agents estimated it was worth about $23 million, and its owner and embassy confirmed it was rented as the official residence of the US envoy.

Emek Refaim Street is the last stop of the US ambassador’s home after more than three years of migrating from the coastal cliffs north of Tel Aviv to stress-ridden Jerusalem. The trip reflects the Trump administration’s divisive legacy and President Joe Biden’s reluctance – who will visit the region next month – to sour relations with Israel over the issue.

Trump upended decades of US policy by recognizing Jerusalem as Israel’s capital in 2017, applauding many Israelis and infuriating Palestinians.

Israel occupied East Jerusalem in the 1967 Middle East war and annexed it in a move not recognized internationally. The Palestinians want East Jerusalem to be the capital of their future state. Most countries maintain embassies in Tel Aviv due to the long-running conflict.

Trump moved the US embassy from Tel Aviv, along with the residence of the US ambassador. Under various presidents, the envoy had previously resided in a sprawling five-bedroom beachfront complex built on an acre (nearly half a hectare) of land, which Israel granted to the United States shortly after independence in 1948.

The former headquarters was a social hub for the relations between the two close allies. It was known for its explosions on the Fourth of July, when thousands of specially invited guests watched sunsets and fireworks over the Mediterranean.

Leave a Reply

%d bloggers like this: