US to Open Jerusalem Embassy in May to Mark Israel’s Independence

The US decision to move its embassy from Tel Aviv to Jerusalem prompted angry protests. Photo: AFP

The United States will relocate its embassy in Israel to Jerusalem in May, coinciding with Israel’s celebration of the 70th anniversary of its independence, U.S. officials said Friday.

The decision immediately sparked a furious reaction from Palestinians, who object to the U.S. recognition of disputed city as Israel’s capital and call May 14 Naqba, their “day of catastrophe.”

The choice of the date, a year earlier than originally forecast, would further cloud efforts to restart peace talks between the Israelis and Palestinians, putting in greater doubt the traditional U.S. role as an “honest broker.”

President Donald J. Trump in December broke with decades of policy to announce US recognition of Jerusalem as Israel’s capital. The U.S. embassy has been located in Tel Aviv until now.

The Palestine Liberation Organization decried Washington’s decision, calling it a “provocation to Arabs.”

“The American administration’s decisions to recognise Jerusalem as Israel’s capital and choose the Palestinian people’s Nakba as the date for this step is a blatant violation of international law,” PLO number two Saeb Erekat told AFP.

The new embassy will be located temporarily in a U.S. consular building in Jerusalem’s Arnona neighborhood, an official said, while Washington seeks a permanent location.

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