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Opening of the US Embassy in Jerusalem: what to know



On May 14, 1948, when the Jews of Palestine declared the founding of a Jewish state called Israel, US President Harry Truman granted immediate recognition on behalf of the United States, becoming the first head of state.

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On May 14, 2018, 70 years later, President Donald Trump will relocate the activities of the US Embassy from Tel Aviv to Jerusalem, where it has been since 1966.

Following Trump's disputed decision last year to recognize Jerusalem as the Israeli capital, the official inauguration of the US Embassy on Monday will coincide with the 70th anniversary of the Israeli Declaration of Independence.

It will be a momentous but divisive opportunity.

What is so controversial that the US embassy is relocated to Jerusalem?

<img src = "https://s.abcnews.com/images/International/us-embassy-jerusalem-rt-mem-180509_hpEmbed_3x2_992.jpg" border = "0" width = "640" height = "480 "alt =" PHOTO: A worker hangs a road sign on May 7, 2018 at the US Embassy near the US Consulate in Jerusalem. [19659009] Ronen Zvulun / Reuters
A worker hangs on May 7, 2018 in the US Consulate in Jerusalem A Road Sign to the US Embassy.

During the First Arab-Israeli Conflict 1948 Israel conquered Arab territory beyond the 1947 UN-mandated Partition Plan.

The 1949 ceasefire line, also known as the Green Line, has largely set international parameters for the borders between Israel and the Palestinians.

But the status of Jerusalem is complicated.

  PHOTO: General view of the former Diplomat Hotel, now part of the US Consulate Arnona in Jerusalem, built on 13th March 2018 in Jerusalem Artur Widak / NurPhoto // Sipa USA via AP
An overall view of the Former Diplomat Hotel, now part of the US Consulate Arnona in Jerusalem, built on 13 March 2018 in Jerusalem

After the Arab-Israel War of 1967, the lines were redrawn, and Palestinian territory was called Gaza, West Bank and East Jerusalem marked.

The Palestinians recognize East Jerusalem as their capital.

Israel sees a "united Jerusalem" as its capital after it passed a law in 1980 stating that "Jerusalem, complete and united, is the capital of Israel … the seat of the President, the Knesset, the government and the Supreme Court. "https://www.knesset.gov.il/laws/special/eng/basic10_eng.htm]

So why was the US Embassy always in Tel Aviv?

  PHOTO: On the road leading to the US Consulate in the Jewish quarter of Arnona to the east-west, a new street sign and flags are set Jerusalem Line in Jerusalem, May 8, 2018. Abir Sultan / EPA over Shutterstock
On the road to the US Consulate in the Jewish quarter of Arnona in east-west Jerusalem, a new street sign and flags are attached to the line in Jerusalem, May 8, 2018.

The United States and most diplomatic countries Relations with Israel have always kept their messages in Tel Aviv so as not to anticipate a final decision on Jerusalem's status negotiated between Israelis and Palestinians.

The reluctance of official recognition was also perceived as a way to foster discussions between the two sides, which have largely come to a standstill since 2014, when Palestinian President Mahmoud Abbas signed an agreement to join the International Criminal Court, according to the UN Security Council a Palestinian-designed statehood had rejected a resolution calling for the withdrawal of Israeli forces from the West Bank within three years.

Although the Israeli parliament, known as the Knesset, the Supreme Court, and most other government buildings are located in Jerusalem, the Ministry of Defense and the Israel Defense Forces are in the HaKirya section of Tel Aviv.

  PHOTO: A partial view from April 30, 2018 shows excavators working near the US Consulate in the no man's land between West and East Jerusalem, which will be used as the new US Embassy on May 14, 2018. Thomas Coex / AFP / Getty Images
A partial view from April 30, 2018 shows excavators working near the US Consulate in the no-man's-land between West and East Jerusalem used as a temporary new US embassy as of May 14, 2018.

The United States maintains a Consulate General in Jerusalem, which is responsible for relations with the Palestinians and the Palestinian Authority.

While the United States is finally planning to build a completely new embassy building in Jerusalem, on Monday the symbolic movements will send the ambassador's office and about 50 staff, including consular officials, to passport extensions in a separate, existing US facility in Jerusalem treated for Americans and visa applications for local residents.

The site spans the ceasefire lines and is partially located in no-man's-land between West and East Jerusalem.

  PHOTO: The US Embassy in Tel-Aviv, Israel, is featured in this April 14, 2017, file photo. Michael Jacobs / Corbis / Getty Images, FILE
The US Embassy in Tel Aviv, Israel can be seen in this 14 April 2017 file photo.

Aside from relocating the Ambassador and his staff, the change is largely invisible, except for the installation of a new plaque on the building wall and more discreet changes and security changes.

What happens during the day?

Hundreds of guests are invited to the official opening. The embassy event starts at 4 pm. Local time, and US Ambassador to Israel David Friedman, Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu and Deputy US Secretary of State John J. Sullivan speak. US Treasury Secretary Steven T. Mnuchin and Jared Kushner and Ivanka Trump will also attend the ceremony.

65 journalists from the United States, 41 from the United Kingdom and more than 60 from the European Union have already arrived on their own last week to report on the incident, according to the Israeli government's press service, and others are expected before the opening.

In the meantime, Israel will celebrate 70 years as an independent state. The day after that, May 15, is the day Palestinians remember as "Nakba" or "disaster."

It commemorates the mass expulsion of Palestinians who fled or were allegedly expelled after the Israeli Declaration of Independence in 1948.

Israel claims that the Palestinians left Israel on their own or for their own safety, but some Israeli historians admit that a "handful" of expulsions have taken place. As with much of the conflict, both sides deny each other's historical events.

The sensitivity of the day and the resettlements in the US have led many people to expect an increase in protests from Palestinians angered by the recognition of Jerusalem as the capital of Israel.

The Trump administration has emphasized that resettlement does not anticipate decisions on final Israeli status, suggesting that East Jerusalem may possibly be the capital of a future Palestinian state.

But with this step seen as a blessing to the Israelis, some people are questioning the motive for the Palestinians to talk again, especially with the United States as an intermediary.


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