US embassy opens in Jerusalem amid massive protests by Palestinians in Gaza

  14 May 2018    Read: 2190
US embassy opens in Jerusalem amid massive protests by Palestinians in Gaza

The U.S. today officially opened its new embassy in Jerusalem amid massive protests by Palestinians.

The move of the American embassy from Tel Aviv to Jerusalem comes five months after President Donald Trumpmade his blockbuster announcement of the change in December.

The new diplomatic office, in what was an existing U.S. consular building, was opened in a ceremony led by U.S. Ambassador to Israel David Friedman and attended by Israeli and American leaders.

The day has also been marked by violence, with at least 41 Palestinians killed by Israeli military forces and more than 1,600 injured in protests at the Gaza border against the embassy move, according to the Gaza Ministry of Health.

"Today's historic event is attributed to the vision, the courage, and the moral clarity of one person to whom we owe an enormous and eternal debt of gratitude -- President Donald Trump," Friedman said to a standing ovation at the ceremony.

Trump addressed Monday's ceremony by video, celebrating the historic move and saying the U.S. "extended a hand in friendship" to the Israelis, Palestinians, and their neighbors and remains "committed to facilitating a lasting peace agreement" between them.

The U.S. was represented by Trump's presidential delegation, led by Deputy Secretary of State John Sullivan and including daughter and adviser Ivanka Trump and son-in-law and adviser Jared Kushner. The U.S. expected some 800 people to attend the event, including a congressional delegation with Republican Senators Lindsey Graham, Ted Cruz, Dean Heller, and Mike Lee.

“While presidents before him have backed down from their pledge to move the American embassy once they were in office, this president delivered -- because when President Trump makes a promise, he keeps it,” Kushner said to the crowd.

Among other prominent people present was Republican megadonor Sheldon Adelson, who was seated next to Treasury Secretary Steven Mnuchin and who unveiled the seal of the United States on the side of the new embassy.

"On behalf of the 45th president of the United States, we welcome you officially and for the first time to the embassy of the United States, here in Jerusalem, the capital of Israel," Ivanka Trump said after the seal was revealed.


ABC news

More about: Jerusalem