04:43 GMT +324 February 2019
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    A new road sign indicating the way to the new US embassy in Jerusalem is seen on May 7, 2018

    US Embassy in Jerusalem Ready for Controversial Opening

    © AFP 2018 / THOMAS COEX
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    The US Embassy in Israel will officially open in Jerusalem on Monday after its controversial relocation from Tel Aviv that sparked widespread concern, as the city of Jerusalem is contested by Israel and Palestine as their capital.

    US President Donald Trump announced the decision to move the embassy to Jerusalem and thus recognize it as the Israeli capital in December. Palestine has protested against the move vehemently, stressing that this decision endangered the future of the peace talks between the two Middle Eastern countries.

    The United Nations has also been critical of the move, although an emergency session of the UN Security Council failed to issue a statement condemning it, as the United States has a veto right.

    At the same time, Guatemala and Paraguay have said they would also move their embassies. Most other countries are keeping their main diplomatic missions in Tel Aviv.


    A reception will be held to celebrate the opening of the embassy. It will be attended by US Secretary of the Treasury Steven Mnuchin, Trump's daughter Ivanka, presidential adviser and Ivanka's husband Jared Kushner.

    Ivanka Trump said Saturday she was "honored to join the delegation representing @POTUS, his Admin & the American people at this momentous ceremony commemorating the opening of our new US Embassy in Jerusalem, Israel."

    The US delegations will include hundreds of people: congressmen, religious leaders and officials. Many foreign diplomats have been invited, although some have decided not to attend in protest against the relocation.

    The Israeli Embassy in Washington will hold a similar event to celebrate the relocation.


    The United States is planning to build a new facility for the embassy, but for now its staff will move into an already existing US facility that carried out consular duties in Jerusalem.

    So far, the building has not undergone many visible changes. On the day of the opening, a new official sign will be unveiled.

    The US embassy will open on a day that is very special to Israel: on May 14, 1948 the state of Israel was declared.


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