Israel marks opening of United States embassy in Jerusalem amid ongoing protests

Pauline Gross
May 14, 2018

Monday is bound to be one of the worst days in office for Abbas since the militant Hamas movement seized Gaza in a 2007 takeover.

Bolton meanwhile said the opening of the embassy in a city which the Palestinians also want to make the capital of their promised future state would actually enhance the prospects of peace. Guatemala and Paraguay plan to move their embassies to Jerusalem later this month.

Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu, taking a harder line than two predecessors, has said he won't give up any part of Jerusalem, home to 883,000 people, 38 per cent of them Palestinians.

Jeremy Ben-Ami, president of J Street, a liberal pro-Israel group in the USA, expressed concern that the embassy move would backfire. The weekly protests along the Israel-Gaza border are expected to culminate on Monday in parallel with the celebrations in Jerusalem.

Since March 30, the Palestinians have been organizing protests, demonstrations and rallies calling it "the Great March of Return".

The 2012 candidate spoke Sunday at a Jewish-Christian Bible study session in Israel's parliament.

"The chairmen of the club, the owner Eli Tabib and the executive manager Eli Ohana have chose to add to the club's title the name of the American President who made history, and from now on will be called Beitar Trump Jerusalem".

An extra two brigades are being deployed to the Gaza Strip and another in the West Bank.

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

On Monday, the official dedication ceremony will be held in the new US consulate-turned-embassy in Jerusalem's Arnona neighborhood.

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"Jerusalem is mentioned in the Bible approximately 650 times", Netanyahu said.

Around 1,000 police officers will be positioned around the U.S. embassy and surrounding neighbourhoods for Monday's inauguration, said spokesman Micky Rosenfeld.

The Israeli army said on Sunday that it held Hamas accountable for anything in the Gaza Strip "and its consequences".

"Unfortunately, the crossing is closed today and will remain closed until the foreseeable future due to severe damage caused by Palestinian rioters", said Lt. Col. Jonathan Conricus, a military spokesperson.

"It is not a provocation".

"I think we're all very happy and excited to be participating in such a historic event", Mr Friedman said.

A number of Palestinian shop owners in the Old City said they planned to close when the march passed through in case anyone tried to vandalise their shops, as had occurred in the past.

Both the embassy move and the protests have symbolic timing.

Observers say there is concern that expanding Palestinian protests may lead to clashes with Israeli forces.

They were greeted at the airport by US Ambassador to Israel David Friedman.

Other reports by GizPress

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