World

US Opens Embassy in Jerusalem

US Opens Embassy in Jerusalem

The UK government says Britain has no plans to move its embassy from Tel Aviv to Jerusalem al-Quds and still disagrees with the USA decision to do so.

Ceremonies marking the embassy's move from the official capital in Tel Aviv were meant to be festive and celebratory, but authorities are preparing for demonstrations that could turn into fighting.

Meanwhile, America's Ambassador to Israel David Friedman commended Trump for having the "vision, the courage and the moral clarity" to bring about the opening.

At the ceremony, Jared Kushner, son-in-law and adviser to Trump, represented the administration. Treasury Secretary Steve Mnuchin also made the trip.

US President Donald Trump tweeted this afternoon that today was "a big day for Israel". Kushner, whose grandparents survived the Holocaust, drew a standing ovation when he mentioned Trump's announcement last week that the USA would withdraw from the nuclear agreement with Iran, Israel's sworn enemy.

However, Monday's steadily climbing death toll and wall-to-wall condemnation of the embassy move by the Arab world raised new doubts about Trump's ambitions to broker what he once said would be the Mideast "deal of the century". Kushner and Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu were among the speakers at the ceremony.

"This is a great day".

That "journey to peace" seemed elusive on Monday, though, as more than four dozen Palestinians were killed in Gaza by Israeli security forces who used both lethal and nonlethal means to disperse protests along the border and prevent Palestinians from crossing into Israel. But Israeli and USA officials were determined not to let the violence diminish the embassy celebration. Nearly 2000 were injured, over 900 with live ammunition.

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Worldwide law is unambiguous on the status of Jerusalem.

The Israeli army said 35,000 Palestinians were taking part in today's demonstrations, which it described as "violent riots".

He told the dedication ceremony that it had been a "long time coming", adding: "Israel is a sovereign nation with the right to determine its own capital but for many years we failed to acknowledge the obvious".

Monday's opening follows widespread clashes over the weekend.

Ismail Radwan, a senior Hamas figure, said the mass border protests against Israel will continue "until the rights of the Palestinian people are achieved".

The two sides were separated by police at the Temple Mount, a sacred site to Jews, Muslims and Christians, and several Jewish marchers were removed for breaking the rules of conduct, Ynet News reported.

The Grand Mufti of Jerusalem and Palestine, Sheikh Mohammed Ahmed Hussein, warned of the Israeli authorities' decision to ban the Muslim call to prayer today during the USA embassy move from Tel Aviv to occupied Jerusalem.

Israel captured east Jerusalem in the 1967 Mideast war and annexed it in a move not recognized by the worldwide community.


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