Trump Will Not Attend Jerusalem's U.S. Embassy Opening Ceremony

Published May 8th, 2018 - 06:51 GMT
U.S. president Trump said he will pass US opening ceremony in Jerusalem. (AFP/ File Photo)
U.S. president Trump said he will pass US opening ceremony in Jerusalem. (AFP/ File Photo)
US President Donald Trump will not attend the May 14 ceremony marking the relocation of the US embassy in Israel to Jerusalem, announced the White House on Monday.

Deputy Secretary of State John Sullivan will lead the delegation. Trump's daughter Ivanka and her husband, senior White House aide Jared Kushner, will also be part of the US presidential delegation, along with Treasury Secretary Steven Mnuchin, added the White House.

Earlier, US Embassy road signs were erected in Jerusalem on Monday a week before Washington was due to relocate its mission, a move that has infuriated the Arab and Muslim worlds.

Trump announced the move of the embassy to Jerusalem in December, saying that he was making good on US legislation and presidential pledges dating back decades. Other world powers have not done so, sidestepping one of the thorniest disputes between Israel and the Palestinians, who want their own state with East Jerusalem as the capital.

Palestinian President Mahmoud Abbas said in wake of Trump’s announcement that the US had effectively disqualified itself from peace process.

Workmen installed the black-and-white signs, in English, Hebrew and Arabic, along roads leading to a US consulate building in south Jerusalem that will be remodeled as the embassy when it is formally relocated from Tel Aviv on May 14.

"This is not a dream. It is reality. I am proud and moved to have hung this morning the first new signs that were prepared for the US Embassy," Jerusalem Mayor Nir Barkat wrote on Twitter.

Israel captured East Jerusalem from Jordanian control in the 1967 Middle East war and annexed it in a move not recognized internationally. The last round of peace talks on a Palestinian state in the West Bank and Gaza Strip collapsed in 2014.

Israel claims the entire city as its eternal capital. The Palestinians seek the eastern sector as capital of their hoped-for state.

"This (embassy) move is not only illegal but will also thwart the achievement of a just and lasting peace between two sovereign and democratic states on the 1967 borders, Israel and Palestine living side by side in peace and security," Palestinian negotiator Saeb Erekat said in a statement.

At the consulate site, mechanical diggers cleared scrubland as workers posted embassy signs along city roads and hung US, Israeli and Jerusalem flags from street lights.
 

The Trump administration has left the diplomatic door open to a negotiated settlement between Israel and the Palestinians on defining Jerusalem's borders.

"By recognizing Jerusalem as the capital of Israel and the seat of its government, we're recognizing reality," US Secretary of State Mike Pompeo said during a visit to Israel last week.

"I also stress, as President Trump has said in December, the boundaries of Israeli sovereignty in Jerusalem remain subject to negotiations between the parties, and we remain committed to achieving a lasting and comprehensive peace that offers a brighter future for both Israel and the Palestinians."

Paraguay will move its embassy in Israel to Jerusalem by the end of May, a Paraguay government spokesman and the Israeli foreign ministry said on Monday.

In March, Guatemalan President Jimmy Morales said that his country would relocate its embassy from Tel Aviv to Jerusalem on May 16, two days after the US move.

Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu said in April "at least half a dozen" countries were now "seriously discussing" following the US lead, though he did not identify them.
 
This article has been adapted from its original source.

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