Trump in a video address said that the U.S. will ‘always be a great friend of Israel and a partner in the cause of freedom and peace’ while honoring the nation and the city it claims as its capital as a ‘testament to the unbreakable spirit of the Jewish people.’
‘We extend a hand in friendship to Israel, the Palestinians and to all of their neighbors,’ Trump said in a video address. ‘May there be peace.’
In a tweet shortly after he said, ‘Big day for Israel. Congratulations!’
Neither Trump nor Vice President Mike Pence were there see the realization of their campaign promise that they would relocate the embassy from Tel Aviv and recognize Jerusalem as the capital of Israel. Pence is headlining a celebratory event at the Israeli embassy in Washington, instead.
Jared Kushner and Ivanka Trump, both White House advisers, were part of a delegation of senior officials that included Treasury Secretary Steve Mnuchin that made the trip.
The U.S. delegation had arrived Sunday evening in Jerusalem to mass protests over the foreign policy shift.
Israeli snipers have killed scores of Palestinians and wounded thousands more as 35,000 protesters rallied against the US Embassy opening in Jerusalem overseen by Donald Trump‘s Middle East envoy Jared Kushner and daughter Ivanka.
A 14-year-old was among 52 shot dead along the Gaza border on what is already the deadliest single day in the Israeli-Palestinian conflict since a 2014 war between the Jewish state and Gaza’s Islamist rulers Hamas.
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The festivities in Jerusalem were a stark contrast to the bloodshed on the Gaza border (right) where dozens of protesters were killed by Israeli snipers. Ivanka Trump (left) is pictured unveiling engraved stonework carrying her father’s name on the wall at the embassy today
Flashpoint: Tens of thousands of Palestinians gathered for protests against the US embassy opening today and dozens were killed amid clashes with Israeli troops. Crowds are seen sprinting away from tear gas during a clash with Israeli security forces east of Jabalia near the Gaza border
Israeli leaders and a U.S. delegation including Treasury Secretary Steven Mnuchin and President Donald Trump’s daughter and son-in-law, Ivanka Trump (pictured) and Jared Kushner, have attended the opening of the embassy, relocated from Tel Aviv to Jerusalem in a controversial decision
Donald Trump’s daughter Ivanka (right) and husband Jared Kushner (left) joined Benjamin Netanyahu for the opening of the embassy this afternoon
White House senior advisor Ivanka Trump (right) speaks alongside US Treasury Secretary Steven Mnuchin during the opening ceremony
A child who has been affected by tear gas is rushed to medics at the border fence with Israel as mass demonstrations continue along the Gaza border today
A protester screams in agony as he is picked up by fellow Palestinians during deadly clashes along the Gaza border today. The death toll continued to climb this morning as anger mounted over the US embassy opening in Jerusalem
Palestinian protesters carry an injured man who was shot by Israeli troops during a protest at the Gaza Strip’s border with Israel today
An elderly Palestinian man falls to the ground amid reports he had been shot by Israeli troops during a deadly protest at the Gaza Strip’s border
Huge crowds of protesters hid behind clouds of smoke from burning tyres but at times were forced to run from tear gas fired by Israeli troops
A Palestinian throws a rock in response to Israel’s intervention during a protest to mark 70th anniversary of Nakba, also known as Day of the Catastrophe in 1948 and against the decision to relocate the US Embassy from Tel Aviv to Jerusalem
At least 2,400 more have been injured with hundreds of them by live bullets, according to Gaza officials as the Palestinian government accused Israel of committing a ‘terrible massacre’ and Amnesty International called the bloodshed an ‘abhorrent violation’ of human rights.
Trump President tossed aside decades of precedent when he recognized the city as Israel’s capital in December – a decision that sparked global outcry, Palestinian anger and exuberant praise from Israelis.
Russia said today it feared the embassy opening would increase tension in the Middle East while Turkey’s President Tayyip Erdogan warned the US it had forfeited its role as a mediator in the region and was now ‘part of the problem rather than the solution’.
As deadly clashes continued, Trump said in a video address aired at the opening that the embassy has been a ‘long time coming’ and that the U.S. had ‘failed to acknowledge the obvious’ for many years. He added that ‘today, we follow through on this recognition’ and that the new embassy was opening ‘many, many years ahead of schedule.’
Trump also said his ‘greatest hope’ is for peace and that he ‘remains fully committed to facilitating a lasting peace agreement’. His on-in-law Jared Kushner said the opening showed the US could be trusted and that ‘when President Trump makes a promise, he keeps it’.
The UN High Commissioner for Human Rights said the international community must bring those responsible to justice, in a post on Twitter.
‘Shocking killing of dozens, injury of hundreds by Israeli live fire in #Gaza must stop now,’ Zeid Ra’ad al Hussein wrote in a message carried on the UN human rights Twitter account.
‘The right to life must be respected. Those responsible for outrageous human rights violations must be held to account. The int’l community needs to ensure justice for victims.’
A wounded Palestinian woman is evacuated by men wearing gas masks and high-viz jackets as protests turned violent today
Palestinian protesters carry the wounded during clashes near the border with Israel in the east of Gaza Strip
Israel’s armed forces had warned anyone approaching the fence would be risking their lives. By early this afternoon 37 protesters had been killed and the death toll has now risen further
A medic tries to hold an injured man’s mouth open as they take him away from the clashes in a stretcher
A wounded female Palestinian demonstrator is evacuated on a stretcher by emergency workers at Qalandya checkpoint near the West Bank city of Ramallah
A woman appears to be giving protesters medical assistance as she tends to them while they sit on the ground during clashes along the border with Israel
Protesters used a horse and cart as they carried wounded Palestinians away from the conflict this afternoon as it emerged at least 37 had been killed and hundreds more injured
Inside the event, the president’s daughter delivered an official welcome telling attendees after her father’s video address: ‘On behalf of the 45th President on [sic] the United States of America, we welcome you officially and for the first time to the Embassy of the United States here in Jerusalem, the capital of Israel. Thank you.’
She joined Mnuchin in unveiling the embassy seal and plaque commemorating her father’s involvement in the occasion.
Her husband, Jared, delivered a rare speech at the embassy opening, as well, in some of his most lengthy public remarks since joining his father-in-law’s administration.
Acknowledging his wife in his remarks, he said, ‘Ivanka, thank you for all the great work you do to help so many people in our country and throughout the world — including me, so I love you.’
‘I am so proud to be here today in Jerusalem, the eternal heart of the Jewish people, and I am especially honored to be here today as a representative of the 45th President of the United States, Donald J. Trump,’ he said.
Highlighting Trump’s decision last week to leave the Iran nuclear agreement and the pledge he fulfilled in moving the embassy, Kushner said, ‘While presidents before him have backed down from their pledge to move the American embassy, once in office this president delivered. Because when President Trump makes a promise, he keeps it.’
‘The United States is prepared to support a peace agreement in every way that we can,’ he told the audience. ‘We believe that it is possible for both sides to gain more than they give.’
Kushner said the U.S. ‘recognizes the sensitivity’ around Jerusalem, home to three religions, including Islam.
‘While the challenges to peace are numerous, I have personally seen that the determination of the leaders throughout the region and throughout the world remains steadfast,’ Trump’s chief peace negotiator said.
At the White House, Deputy Press Secretary Raj Shah blamed Hamas for the violence in Israel on Monday. He said he did not believe that the violence would undermine the United States’ positioning on a peace agreement.
‘The responsibility for these tragic deaths rests squarely with Hamas. Hamas is intentionally and cynically provoking this response,’ he asserted.
Shah demanded that Hamas stop its ‘cynical exploitation of the situation’ that has lead to the deaths.
The president’s spokesman said that embassy opening is ‘about following through on what the President promised and believes.
‘I think we’ve for decades you know walked on eggshells, pretending that Jerusalem isn’t the capital of Israel when it obviously is. And this is just a recognition of reality.’
Shah said the ‘peace plan will be brought forward at the appropriate time, and it can be evaluated on its merits.
‘We don’t think it impact the peace plan,’ he said of the deaths in Gaza.
Palestinians carry an injured protestors to safety as one man kneels on the ground holding his head as violence erupted on the Gaza strip today
A severely injured man is carried. Israel’s armed forces had warned anyone approaching the fence would be risking their lives
American and Israeli delegations have begun a festive ceremony to mark the opening of the new U.S. Embassy (pictured) in Jerusalem. U.S. Ambassador David Friedman welcomed the crowd. ‘Today we open the United States embassy in Jerusalem Israel,’ he said to warm applause.
Israeli soldiers walk amidst smoke from a fire in a wheat field near the Kibbutz of Nahal Oz, along the border with the Gaza Strip today
A wounded Palestinian women is carried from the border fence with Israel as mass demonstrations continue following the decision to move the US embassy from Tel Aviv to Jerusalem
A group of Palestinian men carry their injured friend to an ambulance by stretcher during clashes with Israeli soldiers
Benjamin Netanyahu, the Israeli prime minister, gave a nod to the White House official in a speech afterward, saying to the crowd, ‘I want to especially welcome Jared Kushner and Ivanka Trump. Your presence here today is a testament to the importance of this occasion.’
‘President Trump, by recognizing history, you have made history,’ he said, in forceful remarks. ‘Today, the embassy of the most powerful nation on earth, our greatest ally, the United States of America, today its embassy opened here.’
Netanyahu firmly declared: ‘We are in Jerusalem, and we are here to stay.’
‘Thank you, President Trump, for having the courage to keep your promises.’
Netanyahu made a reference to the conflict on the Gaza border as he said in his speech that ‘our brave soldiers are protecting the borders of Israel as we speak, we salute them all.’
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Israel’s prime minister said Jerusalem will always be the ‘eternal, undivided’ capital of Israel’ and called the anniversary of the nation’s founding a ‘glorious’ day.
‘The truth is that Jerusalem has been and always will be the capital of the Jewish people, the capital of the Jewish state,’ he said.
President Trump said earlier on Monday that it would be ‘a great day for Israel’ as the U.S. embassy prepared to open in Jerusalem.
‘The United States remains fully committed to precipitating a lasting peace agreement,’ he said in a video address.
He steered clear of the controversy over the relocation of the embassy, while noting, ‘We continue to support the status quo at Jerusalem’s holy sites, including at the Temple Mount.’
‘Today also demonstrates American leadership. By moving our embassy to Jerusalem, we have shown the world once again that the United States can be trusted,’ he said.
‘We stand with our friends and our allies, and above all else, we’ve shown that the United States of America will do what’s right,’ he said.
Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu and his wife Sara were among those attending the opening ceremony today
Ivanka Trump’s husband Jared Kushner was among the speakers as the embassy was officially opened this afternoon
Jared Kushner embraces both his wife, Ivanka (left) and Israeli leader Benjamin Netanyahu (right) during the opening ceremony today
A ceremony to inaugurate the US embassy in Jerusalem has started with Jared Kushner and his wife Ivanka Trump (centre), both top aides to President Donald Trump, attending. The event took place as Palestinian officials claimed 37 protesters had been killed in a ‘massacre’ along the Gaza border
As deadly clashes continued this afternoon, Trump said in a video address aired at the opening that the embassy in has been a ‘long time coming’. His daughter Ivanka as pictured walking ahead of US Treasury Secretary Steven Mnuchin at the ceremony today
Ivanka Trump smiles as she poses for photographs next to engraved stonework carrying the name of her father, US President Donald Trump
Ivanka shared two photos of herself and Jared sharing a meal with GOP Senators Ted Cruz, Mike Lee, Dean Heller, and Lindsey Graham
Israel’s prime minister Benjamin Netanyahu (pictured) has said Jerusalem will always be the ‘eternal, undivided’ capital of Israe
The embassy opening coincides with the 70th anniversary of the founding of Israel.
Trump in December announced that he would follow through on the pledge to move the embassy that U.S. presidential candidates have repeatedly made and then reneged on.
The Republican president said he would ‘move the American embassy to the eternal capital of the Jewish people, Jerusalem’ in keeping with a decades-old U.S. mandating the relocation.
Presidents have typically signed a waiver every six months to skirt the requirement. Trump signed it his first year in office.
After a process that was expected to take up to four years, the U.S. said it would outfit a consulate in Jerusalem as an embassy while a new one is constructed.
‘We extend a hand in friendship to Israel, the Palestinians and to all of their neighbors’: President Trump celebrates the opening of U.S. embassy in Jerusalem from afar
Donald Trump said it was ‘a great day for Israel’ on Monday as the U.S. embassy was officially declared open in Jerusalem.
‘We extend a hand in friendship to Israel, the Palestinians and to all of their neighbors,’ Trump said in a video address.
It has been a ‘long time coming’, he added.
Trump said that the U.S. had ‘failed to acknowledge the obvious’ for many years, adding that ‘today, we follow through on this recognition.’
Trump added that the new embassy was opening ‘many, many years ahead of schedule.’
The embassy move has enraged the Palestinians. Trump said he remained committed to ‘facilitating a lasting peace agreement.’
Trump said the opening of the US embassy in Jerusalem had been a ‘long time coming’ as he spoke in a pre-recorded video message
Trump stressed a close bond with Israel. He also said he was ‘extending a hand of friendship to Israel, the Palestinians and to all of their neighbors.’
Neither Trump nor Vice President Mike Pence were there to see the realization of their campaign promise that they would relocate the embassy from Tel Aviv and recognize Jerusalem as the capital of Israel.
Pence is headlining a celebratory event at the Israeli embassy in Washington, instead.
Jared Kushner and Ivanka Trump, both White House advisers, were part of a delegation of senior officials that included Treasury Secretary Steve Mnuchin that made the trip.
Ivanka Trump, in an official welcome, after her father’s video address, told attendees: ‘On behalf of the 45th President on [sic] the United States of America, we welcome you officially and for the first time to the Embassy of the United States here in Jerusalem, the capital of Israel. Thank you.’
Jared Kushner delivered a rare speech at the embassy opening, highlighting Trump’s decision last week to leave the Iran nuclear agreement and the pledge he fulfilled in moving the embassy
Acknowledging his wife, Kushner said, ‘Ivanka, thank you for all the great work you do to help so many people in our country and throughout the world – including me, so I love you’
Kushner delivered a rare speech at the embassy opening, as well, highlighting Trump’s decision last week to leave the Iran nuclear agreement and the pledge he fulfilled in moving the embassy.
‘While presidents before him have backed down from their pledge to move the American embassy, once in office this president delivered. Because when President Trump makes a promise, he keeps it,’ Kushner said.
Acknowledging his wife, Kushner said, ‘Ivanka, thank you for all the great work you do to help so many people in our country and throughout the world – including me, so I love you.’
The U.S. delegation arrived Sunday evening in Jerusalem to mass protests over the U.S. foreign policy shift.
Secretary of State Mike Pompeo did not make the trip, either, but said Sunday in an interview that aired on Fox News that ‘the American people in that region are secure’ and ‘we are comfortable we’ve taken action that reduces that risk.’
Upon the arrival of the U.S. delegation on Sunday, the president’s daughter and son-in-law, both Jewish, received a blessing from Sephardic Chief Rabbi Yitzhak Yosef.
‘Great to join the friends of Zion for an amazing evening commemorating the dedication of the US Embassy in Jerusalem, Israel,’ Ivanka wrote in a tweet after landing.
The embassy opening coincides with the 70th anniversary of the founding of Israel.
The Palestinians claim Israeli-annexed east Jerusalem as their capital and have strongly objected to Trump’s move.
As the ceremony took place this afternoon, the Israeli army revealed that warplanes had struck a Hamas facility in Gaza during bloody protests.
The military said it carried out five airstrikes after militants exchanged fire on three separate occasions with soldiers.
Brigadier General Ronen Manelis turn out by Monday afternoon was about 40,000. He said the army viewed that number as a ‘failure for Hamas.’
He said the army noticed there were more women at the front of the protest than in past rallies and accused Hamas of paying people to protest.
This morning, the Israeli military said troops shot and killed three Palestinians who were trying to place an explosive device by the border fence in Gaza during mass protests.
The shooting in the southern Gaza town of Rafah came as the army said an Israeli aircraft had bombed a Hamas military post in the northern Gaza Strip after Israeli troops came under fire. No Israeli casualties were reported.
Amnesty International called the violence today an ‘abhorrent violation’ of human rights.
‘We are witnessing an abhorrent violation of international law and human rights in Gaza…. This must end immediately,’ the London-based human rights group said on Twitter.
‘This is a violation of international standards, in some instances committing what appear to be wilful killings constituting war crimes,’ Amnesty’s Middle East and North Africa director Philip Luther said in a separate statement.
‘As violence continues to spiral out of control, the Israeli authorities must immediately rein in the military to prevent the further loss of life and serious injuries.’
Amnesty made the statement ‘responding to reports that dozens of Palestinians have been killed’ in the protests over the US embassy move.
At one point the Israeli armed forces used drones to drop tear gas canisters in a bid to disperse the crowds of tens of tousands
The drone could be seen releasing gas canisters during clashes between Palestinians and Israeli forces near the border between Israel and the Gaza strip, east of Jabalia
Palestinians were forced to run for safety as the gas canisters containing tear gas were fired from drones overhead today
Witnesses said Israeli drones had also dropped incendiary materials earlier in the day, setting ablaze tyres that had been collected for use in a planned Gaza border protest.
Drones unleashed canisters full of tear gas in the hope of dispersing the huge crowds today. The clashes have left scores dead
The drone tactic was deployed as festivities were taking place for the opening of a new US embassy in Jerusalem today
According to local reports, Israel employed specialist drone racers to drop tear gas
‘The rising toll of deaths and injuries today only serves to highlight the urgent need for an arms embargo,’ Luther added.
‘While some protestors may have engaged in some form of violence, this still does not justify the use of live ammunition.’
The European Union’s foreign policy chief is calling on Israel to respect the ‘principle of proportionality in the use of force’.
Federica Mogherini said that all should act ‘with utmost restraint to avoid further loss of life’ and added that ‘Israel must respect the right to peaceful protest.’
At the same time, she insisted that Hamas must make sure demonstrators in Gaza are peaceful and ‘must not exploit them for other means.’
The dramatic scenes today came after al-Qaeda chief Ayman al-Zawahiri last night called for followers to carry out jihad against America.
In a new message, he said America’s decision was evidence that negotiations and ‘appeasement’ have failed Palestinians as he urged Muslims carry out jihad against the United States.
Trump ‘was clear and explicit, and he revealed the true face of the modern Crusade, where standing down and appeasement does not work with them, but only resistance through the call and jihad,’ Zawahiri said, according to a transcript provided by the SITE monitoring agency.
Violence: This was the scene as a man used a sling to hurl rocks towards Israeli forces along the Gaza border today
In the line of fire: Israeli soldiers are pictured lying in position looking out over the Gaza border
The Israeli army responded by throwing tear gas towards protesters, sending huge crowds scattering this afternoon
Taking cover: Palestinians throw themselves to the ground as tear gas is hurled towards them during fierce clashes today
The celebrations in Jerusalem were a stark contrast to the bloodshed along the Gaza border where tens of thousands of Palestinians protested
A Palestinian woman tries to fly a kite during clashes with Israeli forces near the border between the Gaza Strip
The US moved its embassy in Israel to Jerusalem today after months of global outcry, Palestinian anger and exuberant praise from Israelis. Israeli snipers killed a Palestinian man as protests got underway this morning. Pictured: A protester running past burning tyres
US President Donald Trump made the decision, which tossed aside decades of precedent, in December as he recognised Jerusalem as Israel’s capital. Palestinians burned tyres this morning ahead of mass protests at the Gaza border today
A Palestinian demonstrator lies on the ground as smoke billows from burning tyres during clashes with Israeli forces near the border between the Gaza strip and Israel east of Gaza City this morning
The announcement and the opening of the embassy sparked new chaos in Jerusalem, which the Israelis and Palestinians both claim as a holy site.
Still, the Trump administration says it is still charging ahead with a plan to bring peace to the region. A U.S. official told the Washington Free Beacon in advance of the embassy opening that the White House intends to unveil the deal that Trump’s son-in-law has taken a lead role in putting together in the coming months.
‘We’ve been working hard and want to give the plan the best chance for success,’ a senior official told the publication. ‘We want to get a lasting deal that is livable for both parties.’
Secretary of State Mike Pompeo, who was not on the trip and has been the point person for the Trump’s upcoming summit with North Korea, said the Middle East peace process is ‘is most decidedly not dead,’ in spite of the unrest that boiled over on Sunday.
‘We’re hard at work on it. We hope we can achieve a successful outcome there as well,’ he said.
Trump’s National Security Advisor John Bolton said the administration believes the embassy move will enhance the peace process because it’s a recognition of reality.
‘I think it will make it easier. It’s a recognition of reality. If you’re not prepared to recognize that Jerusalem is the capital of Israel and that’s where the American embassy should be, then you’re operating on a completely different wavelength,’ Bolton said.
Kushner likewise said in his speech on Monday at the embassy: ‘When there is peace in this region, we will look back upon this day and remember that the journey to peace started with a strong America recognizing the truth.’
‘I believe peace is within reach, if we dare to believe that the future can be different from the past, that we are not condemned to relieve history, and that the way things were is not how they must forever be,’ he said. ‘It will not be an easy road, and it will be filled with difficult moments and tough decisions, but if we dream big and we lead with courage, we can change the trajectory for millions from hopeless to boundless.’
Medics were seen carrying Palestinian protesters away from the scene on stretchers as violence escalated this morning
Dozens have been injured – some of them seriously – by Israeli gun fire, according to Gaza’s Health Ministry after the army warned that anyone attempting to approach the security fence would be risking their lives
Protests intensified on the 70th anniversary of Israel’s founding, as loudspeakers on Gaza mosques urged Palestinians to join a ‘Great March of Return’. Black smoke from tyres burned by demonstrators rose into the air at the border
Thousands gathered in five spots along the border in protest at the embassy move, while sporadic clashes also erupted with Israeli soldiers
Thousands of Gaza residents headed toward the border with Israel on Monday, drawing Israeli fire in a potentially bloody showdown as Israel prepared for the festive inauguration of a new U.S. Embassy in contested Jerusalem
Protesters set tires on fire, sending thick plumes of black smoke into the air at several spots along the border, while the Israeli military said protesters assaulted the border fence
The protest in Gaza was to be the biggest yet in a weekslong campaign against a decade-old blockade of the territory. The march was also directed at the inauguration of the U.S. Embassy in Jerusalem
The relocation of the embassy from Tel Aviv has infuriated the Palestinians, who seek east Jerusalem as a future capital
Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu tweeted ‘what an amazing day! Thank you @POTUS Trump’ ahead of the opening
J Street, a liberal advocacy group pursuing Middle East peace, said the Trump administration had hurt the prospects of a deal with the embassy relocation in a scathing Monday statement called it a ‘victory for the far-right agenda of President Trump and Prime Minister Netanyahu – but not for the long-term interests of Israelis, Palestinians or the United States.’
‘This move has only undermined the prospects for peace, exacerbated tensions and undercut US standing as an effective mediator,’ J Street president Jeremy Ben-Ami said. ‘This isn’t policy – it’s pandering to a narrow political base.’
The largest Jewish lobbying organization in the U.S., AIPAC, which has supported the move, noted that it was approved by Congress 1995 in a sweeping vote. It prodded other countries to follow the United States’ lead.
‘America was the first nation to recognize the independence of the Jewish state, and it is particularly appropriate that our country is once again taking the initiative to strengthen our relationship with Israel and its standing in the world. We urge other nations to follow the Unites States’ lead and also locate their embassies in Israel’s capital,’ it said.
Palestinian men carry an injured protester during clashes with Israeli forces near the border between Israel and the Gaza strip, east of Jabalia
A wounded Palestinian demonstrator is evacuated during a protest against U.S. embassy move to Jerusalem and ahead of the 70th anniversary of Nakba, at the Israel-Gaza border in the southern Gaza Strip
Violent clashes erupted along the Gaza Strip’s border hours ahead of the controversial opening of the US embassy in Jerusalem on Monday, leaving several Palestinians dead from Israeli fire and hundreds more wounded
Crowds built throughout the day in the Palestinian enclave less than 60 miles away from Jerusalem and sealed off from Israel by a blockade
Israel’s military said ‘approximately 10,000 violent rioters are currently assembled in a number of locations along the Gaza Strip border and thousands more are gathered by the tents approximately half a kilometre away from the security fence’
Around 1,000 police officers were being positioned around the embassy for the inauguration. Israel’s army said it was almost doubling the number of troops surrounding Gaza and in the occupied West Bank
A masked protester holds his hand in the air as he stands in front of burning tyres near the Gaza-Israel border in Khan Yunis
By midafternoon, at least 18 Palestinians, including a 14-year-old boy, were killed while over 500 were wounded by Israeli fire, Palestinian health officials said
Anger: Protesters torch tyres and wave Palestinian flags amid violent clashes along the Gaza border this morning
The date of the inauguration is deeply symbolic to both Israelis and Palestinians. The US said it chose the day to coincide with the 70th anniversary of Israel’s establishment
Security has been tightened around Jerusalem ahead of the embassy opening this afternoon. Pictured: A road leading to the embassy
As tensions mounted today, the Arab League said it will hold emergency talks on Wednesday to discuss Washington’s ‘illegal’ decision.
The meeting will focus on ‘ways of countering the illegal decision by the United States to move the embassy to Jerusalem’, the organisation’s deputy secretary general for Palestinian affairs, Saeed Abu Ali, said.
He told reporters the permanent representatives of members of the Cairo-based Arab League would meet ‘at the request of the state of Palestine’.
Police and the Israeli military had planned major security deployments today.
Around 1,000 police officers were positioned around the embassy and surrounding neighbourhoods for the inauguration, said spokesman Micky Rosenfeld.
Israel’s army said it would almost double the number of troops surrounding Gaza and in the occupied West Bank.
Early this morning, witnesses said Israeli drones dropped incendiary materials, setting ablaze tires that had been collected for use in a planned Gaza border protest.
Israeli military spokesman Lt Col Jonathan Conricus said the army had bolstered its front-line forces along the border, but also set up additional ‘layers’ of security in and around neighbouring communities to defend Israeli civilians in case of a mass breach. He said there had already been several ‘significant attempts’ to break through the fence
A Palestinian protester hurls stones at Israeli troops during protests near the Gaza border this morning
Israelis began celebrating on Sunday, as tens of thousands of marched in Jerusalem, some holding American flags, to mark Jerusalem Day.
The annual event is an Israeli celebration of the ‘reunification’ of the city following the 1967 Six-Day War.
Israel occupied the West Bank and east Jerusalem in 1967 and later annexed east Jerusalem in a move never recognised by the international community.
Beyond the disputed nature of Jerusalem, the date of the embassy move is also key. May 14 marks the 70th anniversary of the founding of Israel.
The following day, Palestinians mark the ‘Nakba’, or catastrophe, commemorating the more than 700,000 Palestinians who fled or were expelled from their homes in the 1948 war surrounding Israel’s creation.
Palestinian protests are planned on both days.
Gaza residents streamed to the border area Monday for what is intended to be the largest protest yet against a decade-old blockade of the territory. Israel’s military says it will stop a possible border breach at all costs, warning protesters that they are endangering their lives
Israeli troops firing from across a border fence have shot and wounded two Palestinians as a protest near the Gaza border gets underway
Near Gaza City, hundreds gathered about 150 yards from the fence. A reporter witnessed two people being shot in the legs
Israel’s army warned Gaza residents they will be risking their lives if they approach the border with leaflets dropped by jets warning its forces will ‘act against every attempt to damage the security fence or harm IDF soldiers or Israeli civilians’. A Palestinian is pictured throwing some of the leaflets in the air
WHY THE US MOVED ITS EMBASSY TO JERUSALEM
The United States opened its new embassy in Jerusalem on May 14, a move that has delighted Israel and infuriated Palestinians.
The opening ceremony was timed to coincide with Israel’s 70th anniversary.
The initiative was driven by President Donald Trump, after he broke last year with decades of US policy by recognizing Jerusalem as the capital of Israel.
Trump said his administration has a peace proposal in the works, and recognising Jerusalem as the capital of America’s closest ally had ‘taken Jerusalem, the toughest part of the negotiation, off the table.’
The US opened its new embassy in Jerusalem on May 14, a move that has delighted Israel and infuriated Palestinians. The initiative was driven by Trump, after he broke last year with decades of US policy by recognizing Jerusalem as the capital of Israel
Israel’s prime minister, Benjamin Netanyahu, celebrated Trump’s decision, but the move upset the Arab world and Western allies.
Palestinian President Mahmoud Abbas called it a ‘slap in the face’ and said Washington could no longer be regarded as an honest broker in any peace talks with Israel.
Initially, a small interim embassy will operate from the building in southern Jerusalem that now houses US consular operations, while a secure site is found to move the rest of the embassy operations from Tel Aviv.
WHY DID TRUMP RECOGNIZE JERUSALEM AS ISRAEL’S CAPITAL, AND ANNOUNCE THE EMBASSY WILL BE MOVED THERE?
There has long been pressure from pro-Israel politicians in Washington to move the embassy to Jerusalem, and Trump made it a signature promise of his 2016 election campaign.
The decision was popular with many conservative and evangelical Christians who voted for Trump and Vice President Mike Pence, many of whom support political recognition of Israel’s claim to the city.
Trump acted under a 1995 law that requires the United States to move its embassy to Jerusalem, but to which other presidents since then – Bill Clinton, George W. Bush and Barack Obama – consistently signed waivers.
WHY DOES JERUSALEM PLAY SUCH AN IMPORTANT ROLE IN THE MIDDLE EAST CONFLICT?
Religion, politics and history.
Jerusalem has been fought over for millennia by its inhabitants, and by regional powers and invaders.
It is sacred to Judaism, Christianity and Islam, and each religion has sites of great significance there.
Israel’s government regards Jerusalem as the eternal and indivisible capital of the country, although that is not recognised internationally. Palestinians feel equally strongly, saying that East Jerusalem must be the capital of a future Palestinian state.
The city even has different names. Jews call it Jerusalem, or Yerushalayim, and Arabs call it Al-Quds, which means ‘The Holy’.
But the city´s significance goes further.
At the heart of the Old City is the hill known to Jews across the world as Har ha-Bayit, or Temple Mount, and to Muslims internationally as al-Haram al-Sharif, or The Noble Sanctuary. It was home to the Jewish temples of antiquity but all that remains of them above ground is a restraining wall for the foundations built by Herod the Great. Known as the Western Wall, this is a sacred place of prayer for Jews.
Within yards of the wall, and overlooking it, are two Muslim holy places, the Dome of the Rock and Al-Aqsa Mosque, which was built in the 8th century. Muslims regard the site as the third holiest in Islam, after Mecca and Medina.
The city is also an important pilgrimage site for Christians, who revere it as the place where they believe that Jesus Christ preached, died and was resurrected.
WHAT IS THE CITY’S MODERN HISTORY AND STATUS?
In 1947, the United Nations General Assembly decided that the then British-ruled Palestine should be partitioned into an Arab state and a Jewish state. But it recognized that Jerusalem had special status and proposed international rule for the city, along with nearby Bethlehem, as a ‘corpus separatum’ to be administered by the United Nations.
That never happened. When British rule ended in 1948, Jordanian forces occupied the Old City and Arab East Jerusalem. Israel captured East Jerusalem from Jordan in the 1967 Middle East war and annexed it.
In 1980 the Israeli parliament passed a law declaring the ‘complete and united’ city of Jerusalem to be the capital of Israel. But the United Nations regards East Jerusalem as occupied, and the city’s status as disputed until resolved by negotiations between Israel and the Palestinians.
DOES ANY OTHER COUNTRY HAVE AN EMBASSY IN JERUSALEM?
In March Guatemala’s president, Jimmy Morales, said that his country will move its embassy from Tel Aviv to Jerusalem on May 16, two days after the US move.
Netanyahu said in April that ‘at least half a dozen’ countries were now ‘seriously discussing’ following the US lead, but he did not identify them.
In December, 128 countries voted in a non-binding UN General Assembly resolution calling on the United States to drop its recognition of Jerusalem as Israel´s capital. Nine voted against, 35 abstained and 21 did not cast a vote.
WHAT IS LIKELY TO HAPPEN NEXT? HAS JERUSALEM BEEN A FLASHPOINT BEFORE?
Since Trump’s announcement there have been Palestinian protests and wider political tensions.
Arab leaders across the Middle East have warned the move could lead to turmoil and hamper US efforts to restart long-stalled Israeli-Palestinian peace talks.
More than 40 Palestinians have been killed by Israeli troops in Gaza during a six-week border protest due to culminate on May 15, the day after the US Embassy move and when Palestinians traditionally lament homes and land lost with Israel’s creation.
Although the clashes have not been on the scale of the Palestinian intifadas of 1987-1993 and 2000-2005, violence has erupted before over matters of sovereignty and religion.
In 1969 an Australian Messianic Christian tried to burn down Al-Aqsa Mosque. He failed but caused damage, and prompted fury across the Arab world.
In 2000, the Israeli politician Ariel Sharon, then opposition leader, led a group of Israeli lawmakers onto the Temple Mount/al-Haram al-Sharif complex. A Palestinian protest escalated into the second intifada.
Deadly confrontations also took place in July after Israel installed metal detectors at the complex’s entrance after Arab-Israeli gunmen killed two Israeli policemen there.
Team: The White House advisers attended the inauguration along with other Washington delegates, including US Deputy Secretary of State John Sullivan (third from left in black) and Treasury Mnuchin (center)
A US delegation in Jerusalem includes Trump’s daughter Ivanka and her husband Jared Kushner, both White House aides. She posted a picture of the couple on Twitter with Benjamin Netanyahu and his wife Sara as she thanked the Israeli Prime Minister for his hospitality at a welcome reception
White House advisers Jared Kushner and Ivanka Trump reportedly received a blessing from a rabbi who previously compared black people to monkeys
Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu (left) spoke at a reception welcoming the US delegation attended by both Ivanka and Jared
Ivanka and Jared were seen arriving to a reception for the US delegation. She posted this photo on Instagram
Trump ‘feeble minded’ over embassy move, says Iran
Iran has denounced President Donald Trump as ‘feeble-minded’ over Monday’s controversial move of the US embassy to Jerusalem, calling for resistance from the Palestinians and the international community.
‘America has entered a crisis of strategic decision-making that looks at the international arena immaturely and adventurously,’ said parliament speaker Ali Larijani, a key establishment figure, at a conference on the Palestinian situation in Tehran.
‘I believe the current US president is not capable of identifying and judging the long-term consequences of his actions,’ he added.
The United States was due to open its new embassy in Jerusalem — known as Al-Quds in Iran — later on Monday amid widespread Palestinian anger and praise from Israelis.
‘Spur-of-the-moment and uncalculated actions cannot continue in today’s world. Feeblemindness is costly for statesmen and they will eventually have to pay the price,’ Larijani said.
Iran is a key backer of Palestinian militant groups, including Hamas, and opposition to Israel has been a central tenet of its regime since the 1979 Islamic revolution.
Larijani called for an ‘immediate reaction’ from Palestinians, Islamic countries and the international community — including boycotts and official complaints to the United Nations.
The US ‘must not think that such actions… can remain without a response,’ he said
There have already been weeks of protests and clashes along the Gaza border, with 54 Palestinians killed by Israeli fire there since March 30.
No Israelis have been wounded and the military has faced criticism over the use of live fire.
Israel says it only opens fire when necessary to stop infiltrations, attacks and damage to the border fence, while accusing Hamas, the Islamist movement that runs the blockaded Gaza Strip, of seeking to use the protests as cover to carry out violence
Jerusalem’s status is perhaps the thorniest issue in the Israeli-Palestinian conflict.
Israel considers the entire city its capital, while the Palestinians see east Jerusalem as the capital of their future state.
In the decades since 1967, international consensus has been that the city’s status must be negotiated between the two sides, but Trump broke with that to global outrage.
He has argued that it helps make peace possible by taking Jerusalem ‘off the table’, but many have pointed out he has not announced any concessions in return from Israel.
Secretary of State Mike Pompeo on Sunday said the US was ‘hard at work’ on the peace process, which he declared was ‘most decidedly not dead’.
Trump’s initial decision led to a series of protests in various Middle Eastern and Muslim countries.
Meanwhile, Britain has no plans to move its Israel embassy from Tel Aviv to Jerusalem and still disagrees with the U.S. decision to do so, Prime Minister Theresa May’s spokesman said on Monday.
‘The PM said in December when the announcement was first made that we disagree with the U.S. decision to move its embassy to Jerusalem and recognise Jerusalem as the Israeli capital before a final status agreement.
The British embassy to Israel is based in Tel Aviv and we have no plans to move it,’ the spokesman told reporters.
He was speaking on a day when the United States was due to open its embassy in Jerusalem, an event that has led to Palestinian protests.
Israeli gunfire killed two Palestinians and wounded at least 35 other protesters along the Gaza border on Monday, health officials said.
US Treasury Secretary Steven Mnuchin – part of a Washington delegation – this morning posted a photo of himself on Twitter with a plaque dedicating a square outside the new US embassy in Jerusalem
US President Donald Trump made the decision, which tossed aside decades of precedent, in December as he recognised Jerusalem as Israel’s capital
The US is not the first embassy to open in Jerusalem – and won’t be the last
When the United States opens its embassy in Jerusalem on Monday it will be the most high-profile diplomatic inauguration in the holy city, but not the first nor the last.
Several countries, mainly African and Latin American, have previously had their ambassadors based in Jerusalem and some are expected to return.
After the 1973 Yom Kippur war, Ivory Coast, Zaire (now the Democratic Republic of Congo) and Kenya severed relations with Israel in protest and closed the doors of their embassies in Jerusalem.
They later renewed relations but moved their missions to Tel Aviv.
In 1980 Israel enacted a law declaring Jerusalem, including the mainly Palestinian eastern zone, its ‘complete and united’ capital.
The United Nations Security Council branded the move illegal and adopted a resolution calling on ‘those states that have established diplomatic missions at Jerusalem to withdraw such missions’.
A Stars and Stripes flower bed outside the new US embassy compound in Jerusalem
The Netherlands, Haiti and several Latin American countries complied.
Costa Rica and El Salvador returned to Jerusalem in 1984, but left again in 2006.
In the wake of Trump’s announcement on December 6, some at least are heading back – and Israel is hoping for more.
Guatemalan President Jimmy Morales has said his country’s embassy will move to Jerusalem on May 16, and Paraguay’s foreign ministry said on Wednesday it would follow suit.
The Israeli foreign ministry said in a statement that Paraguayan President Horacio Cartes would attend the opening ceremony, which would take place ‘by the end of the month’.
Romania’s government, supported by the speaker of its parliament, has adopted a draft proposal to move its embassy, which would make it the first European Union member to do so.
But Romanian President Klaus Iohannis, who has frequently clashed with the government, opposes the move in the absence of an Israeli-Palestinian agreement, and has called for Prime Minister Viorica Dancila’s resignation.
On a visit to Jerusalem last month, Dancila acknowledged that at this stage she did not have ‘support of all parties as we would wish’ to carry out the embassy move.
Czech President Milos Zeman has said he too would like to see his country’s embassy transferred to Jerusalem.
He did not reveal any firm plan, however, and the government has only announced the reopening of its honorary consulate in Jerusalem and the establishment of a Czech cultural centre in the city.
On the other side of coin, Japanese Prime Minister Shinzo Abe told Palestinian president Mahmud Abbas his country would not move its Tel Aviv embassy to Jerusalem, official Palestinian media reported.
The EU is sticking firmly to the international community’s decades-long position that sovereignty in Jerusalem can only be decided by negotiations between Israel and the Palestinians.
Shortly after the Trump announcement, Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu travelled to Brussels for talks with EU foreign ministers.
‘I believe that all or most of the European countries will move their embassies to Jerusalem,’ he told them, earning a chilly response from the bloc’s foreign policy head Federica Mogherini.
‘He can keep his expectations for others, because from the European Union member states’ side this move will not come,’ she said.
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