Today Jerusalem will replace Tel Aviv as the new home of the United States Embassy. It comes as President Donald Trump will fulfill a campaign promise and something that many Jews worldwide have been hoping would happen for years. There will be a new Embassy building built at a later time but for now, the United States will use the old consulate for the time being.
This is a big day as it is the 70th anniversary of the establishment of the state of Israel. The opening of the Embassy is seen as a big Triumph for Israel.
President Trump’s daughter Ivanka Trump and her husband Jared Kushner and other members of the U.S. delegation are on hand to celebrate the opening of the new Embassy. President Trump will address the crowd from his office in the White House back in Washington.
Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu meanwhile said Israel would be celebrating Trump’s decision.
“President Trump promised to recognize Jerusalem as the capital of Israel and he did so. He promised to move the American Embassy to Israel and he is doing so. Of course we will all celebrate this day, a real celebration, tomorrow,” he said at a weekly Cabinet meeting.
The new embassy is opening in part of a pre-existing American visa-and-passport facility and will have an initial staff of at least 50, according to senior Trump administration officials previewing the highly anticipated opening. That includes Ambassador David Friedman’s aides and U.S. consular officers already working at the site.
Meanwhile, the Palestinians want east Jerusalem as the capital of their future state, and view the relocation of the embassy from Tel Aviv to the contested city as a one-sided move that invalidates the U.S. as a Mideast peace broker.
The decision has sparked heavy criticism in the Palestinian territories and beyond.
“This move marks the end of an era when the United States led international efforts to supposedly achieve the two-state solution,” said Husam Zomlot, leader of the Palestinian delegation to the United States.
Meanwhile, in Gaza, Palestinians have held weekly protests in the run-up to their annual commemoration of what they call the Nakba or Catastrophe, when hundreds of thousands of their people fled their homes or were displaced following the foundation of the Israeli state on 14 May, 1948.
More than 60 Palestinians have been killed since the protests began. Thousands more have been wounded.
Hamas, which is in a state of conflict with Israel, had said it would step up protests in the lead-up to Tuesday, the official Nakba commemoration.
Video for this story is supplied by FRANCE 24 English service.