22:58 GMT29 October 2020
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    Washington is planning to open a new US Embassy in Jerusalem in May, which will coincide with the 70th anniversary of Israel, according to a US State Department representative.

    In December 2017, US President Donald Trump recognized Jerusalem as the capital of Israel and ordered the start of preparations for the transfer of the American diplomatic mission there from Tel Aviv.

    "Initially, the embassy will be placed in Arnon, in the complex where Jerusalem's US Consulate General is currently located," the spokesperson added.

    The State Department spokesman specified that "at first, the diplomatic mission will consist of an ambassador and a small team of employees."

    Washington was expected to move the embassy by the end of 2018 but apparently took a more accelerated path. Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu predicted in late January, "my confident assessment is that it will move much faster than people think, within a year from today." 

    Trump's official pronouncement to recognize Jerusalem as the capital of the state of Israel arrived December 6. "I have determined that it is time to officially recognize Jerusalem as the capital of Israel," Trump said. "It is the right thing to do so."

    The move was widely condemned at the UN, among European leaders, and even by Pope Francis. The policy has been in place to recognize Jerusalem since the 1990s, yet every president signed waivers every six months delaying the formal recognition of Jerusalem as Israel's capital. 


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