US Embassy in Jerusalem to open in May 2018

Jessica Allison
February 24, 2018

US President Donald Trump in December broke with decades of policy in Washington by officially recognising Jerusalem as Israel's capital and pledging to move the American embassy from Tel Aviv.

Trump's December declaration recognizing Jerusalem as Israel's capital and announcing plans to relocate the embassy there was met with worldwide condemnation.

That would allow the administration to hang an "embassy" sign over the door and formally open it in time for Israeli independence day on 14 May.

The rapid timeline means the USA will not immediately build a new embassy in the city, which would take years of planning and require extensive security preparations.

One State Department official familiar with the process told CBS News private donations would make it more hard to reverse Mr. Trump's decision to move the embassy in the future. Both Palestinians and Israelis consider Jerusalem to be their capital, and most United Nations members hold that the city's final status shouldn't be decided until a peace agreement is reached. Expansion of the facility will take place by the end of 2019, the State Department said.

The embassy opening in May will coincide with Israel's 70th anniversary, the spokesperson added.

Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu hailed the USA announcement it will officially relocate its embassy to Jerusalem in May "a great day for the people of Israel".

"Come May, we're moving the ambassador and a small team to Arnona", the official said, referring to the Jerusalem district that is home to a compound now used for USA consular operations.

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A ribbon-cutting ceremony is reportedly being planned for mid-May. But the worldwide community - apart from the USA - is united in saying recognition of Jerusalem as the capital of Israel is disastrous for any hopes of reviving meaningful talks.

Israeli Intelligence Minister Yisrael Katz also on Friday congratulated the U.S. president for announcing Washington's plan on the opening of the new embassy.

"There is no greater gift than that!" Minister of Transportation and the Minister of Intelligence Yisrael Katz thanked USA president Donald Trump on Twitter.

"We are planning to open the new U.S. Embassy to Israel in Jerusalem in May".

Lawyers at the State Department were looking into the legality of accepting private donations, the report said.

Adelson, who donated $5 million to Trump's inaugural committee, is one of the Republican Party's biggest donors and a major supporter of Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu. Trump's proposed 2019 budget significantly cut funding for protection of USA diplomatic facilities overseas.

Trump says the campaign against moving the embassy was "incredible".

Other reports by My Hot News

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