A Muslim youth holds a placard during a rally in support of Palestinians and against the U.S. moving its embassy to Jerusalem in front of National Monument in Jakarta, Indonesia, May 11, 2018. REUTERS/Beawiharta.
CAIRO -14 May 2018: As the U.S. embassy in Israel is scheduled to officially be relocated to Jerusalem on Monday, May 14, according to a statement issued by the U.S. Department of State on Friday, protesters worldwide have demonstrated to condemn this move by the American administration.
U.S. Deputy Secretary of State John J. Sullivan will lead the presidential delegation to Jerusalem, along with Secretary of Treasury Steven Mnuchin, Senior Advisor Jared Kushner, Advisor Ivanka Trump and Jason Greenblatt, special representative for international negotiations.
On Dec. 6, 2017, U.S. President Donald Trump stated that his country’s embassy to Israel will be moved to Jerusalem from Tel Aviv, in a controversial step that has been met with the condemnation and rejection of most western countries, in addition to all Muslim and Arab countries.
The American embassy’s relocation from Tel Aviv is deemed an official recognition by the Trump administration that Jerusalem is Israel’s capital city, which is categorically rejected by Arab and Muslim countries.
The Department of State’s statement stressed that moving the U.S. embassy does not reflect a retreat from a lasting peace deal, claiming that the embassy’s relocation “is a necessary condition” for the peace deal. “We are not taking a position on final status issues, including the specific boundaries of Israeli sovereignty in Jerusalem, nor on the resolution of contested borders,” it continued.
Demonstrators shout slogans during a protest in support of Palestinians and against the U.S. moving its embassy to Jerusalem, in Istanbul, Turkey May 11, 2018. REUTERSHuseyin Aldemir (2).JPG
The relocated embassy’s opening ceremony coincides with the Israeli celebrations of the 70th anniversary of the Jewish state’s establishment in the occupied territory of Palestine following the end of the British mandate in 1948.
U.S. Ambassador to Israel David Friedman posted footage on Facebook of the preparations for the opening ceremony, in addition to a video of himself standing in front of scaffolding covered in blue and white drapes, as Reuters reported on Friday.
A woman walks next to a road sign directing to the U.S. embassy, in the area of the U.S. consulate in Jerusalem, May 11, 2018. REUTERSAmmar Awad.JPG
Palestinians are building up to a climax on May 15, which is called the “Nakba” (Catastrophe), which marks the displacement of hundreds of thousands of Palestinians and the occupation of their homes and land by Israeli settlers in 1948.
Israeli troops killed a Palestinian and wounded hundreds of others during Friday’s six-week protest, according to Palestinian medical workers’ testimonies to Reuters.
Israel sent invitations to all foreign ambassadors to attend the so-called “Independence Day” of the Jewish state; however, less than half of the invited ambassadors accepted to attend the “historic event”, as Israeli media alleged.
According to Israeli newspaper Haaretz, some 30 out of the total 86 foreign ambassadors serving in Israel have accepted the Israeli Foreign Ministry’s invitation to the reception marking the U.S. embassy’s move to Jerusalem.
Foreign ambassadors of several states declined the invitation, including Germany, Russia, Poland, Australia, Ireland, Portugal and Sweden.
An Indonesian Muslim youth holds a Palestinian flag during a rally in support of Palestinians and against the U.S. moving its embassy to Jerusalem in front of National Monument in Jakarta, Indonesia, May 11, 2018. REUTERSBeawiharta.JPG
On Tuesday, Ahmed Majdalani, member of the Palestinian Liberation Organization’s (PLO) executive committee, declared May 14, the intended date of the U.S. embassy's relocation, as a day of overwhelming rage, which will break out, according to him, inside and outside the Palestinian lands.
At least three U.S. embassy road signs went up in Jerusalem on Monday ahead of the mission’s opening.
“Palestine has the right and the support of Chile to be a free, independent, sovereign and autonomous country, and the Palestinian people have the right to self-determination,” Chilean President Sebastian Pinera said during a meeting with Palestinian President Mahmoud Abbas on Wednesday.
Pinera expressed his support to establish a “free, independent, sovereign state” of Palestine. Chile supported the accession of Palestine to UNESCO in 2011 and to the status of observer state at the United Nations during its first presidential term.
Chile recognized Palestine in January 2011, and it was the first country to have diplomatic representation with the Palestinian Authority in 1998. Pinera was the first Chilean president to visit the occupied city of Ramallah.
Meanwhile, Guatemala and Paraguay announced that they would follow in the U.S.’s footsteps and transfer their embassies to Jerusalem, causing protests to spread in many countries around the world, including Indonesia, Jordan and Turkey.
Protesters hold a key symbolizing the refugees' right to return, during a rally to mark the 70th anniversary of Nakba in the Jordan Valley, Sweimeh, Jordan May 11, 2018. The key reads, We will return to Jerusalem. REUTERSMuhammad H.JPG
Palestinian President Abbas is on a tour to South America, urging countries to reject the U.S. embassy’s relocation to Jerusalem. He arrived in Cuba on Friday from Chile, which he had visited after Venezuela.
Abbas held official talks with Cuban President Miguel Diaz-Canel to discuss political developments in Palestine and developing bilateral relations, particularly in the fields of investment, tourism and agriculture.
Diaz-Canel reaffirmed his country’s support for the Palestinian cause and announced an increase in the number of scholarships to Palestinian students to 200 over the next four years.
In a related context, Egypt’s Chief of Intelligence Service General Abbas Kamel met with U.S. Special Representative for International Negotiations Jason Greenblatt on Thursday, according to a statement issued by the U.S. embassy in Cairo.
Kamel and Greenblatt discussed increasing cooperation between the United States and Egypt and the urgent need to bring humanitarian relief to Gaza, the statement added.