State Department: US Embassy In Jerusalem To Open In May

State Department: US Embassy In Jerusalem To Open In May

The date coincides with when Israel proclaimed independence in 1948.

The sources said that initially only consular services would be provided. A new location may be chosen later on.

They say the embassy move cleared its last major hurdle Thursday when Secretary of State Rex Tillerson finally approved a security plan.

The decision comes despite overwhelming global opposition.

No other country has an embassy in Jerusalem, with most in Tel Aviv. "I said we have to do it. Jerusalem was the right thing to do".

In December, shortly after President Donald Trump announced the United States would recognize Jerusalem as the capital of Israel, Tillerson told reporters the process would likely take more than a year.

An embassy is expected to be completed by the end of 2019.

The status of Jerusalem was to be decided in final peace talks.

The peace process has been at death's door since the former secretary of state John Kerry's peace mission ended in failure in 2014. West Jerusalem is where Israel's government is based.

He had been promising to do so since he was on the campaign trail. But Palestine Liberation Organisation Secretary-General Saeb Erekat said it showed Washington's "determination to violate worldwide law, destroy the two-state solution and provoke the feelings of the Palestinian people as well as of all Arabs, Muslims and Christians around the globe".

The officials weren't authorized to discuss the issue publicly and demanded anonymity.

The embassy move is expected to complicate efforts to restart peace talks between the Israelis and Palestinians - and jeopardize the traditional, if disputed, United States role as an "honest broker" in efforts to resolve one of the world's most intractable conflicts.

Israel's intelligence minister, Israel Katz, said on Twitter on February 23 that he would like to congratulate Trump "on his decision to transfer the US Embassy to our capital on Israel's 70th Independence Day".

Adelson is also the owner of the popular Israeli daily Israel Hayom, which is widely considered as biased in favor of Netanyahu. At the same time, work will continue to locate a permanent compound for the embassy in Jerusalem.

Israel claims all of Jerusalem as its capital, while the Palestinians see the eastern sector as the capital of their future state.

Saeb Erekat, a senior Palestinian negotiator, decried the decision to move the embassy in May, an anniversary that Palestinians call the nakba, or catastrophe.

Erekat warned that the result of the American move would be "the destruction of the two-state option, as well as a blatant provocation to all Arabs and Muslims".

Jerusalem's status has been a fundamental obstacle in past peace negotiations, and global consensus remains that sovereignty over the city is an issue to be agreed between the two sides.

Daniel Shapiro, a former US ambassador to Israel under President Obama, agrees that the embassy belongs in Jerusalem but that the Trump administration has failed to give the proper assurances especially to the Palestinians.

"What is important here is that without the approval of the Palestinians and specifically President Abbas, there is not going to be anything happening here".

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