May 14 2018

U.S. officials set to attend Jerusalem embassy opening amid protests

The highly controversial move of relocating the U.S. embassy in Israel to Jerusalem  - which was announced by U.S. President Donald Trump in December along with his recognition of Jerusalem as the capital of Israel - is set to take place in a ceremony on Monday, amid mass protests by Palestinians, BBC news reported.

Trump’s recognition of Jerusalem as Israel’s capital and the decision to relocate of the U.S. embassy to the holy city broke decades of U.S. neutrality on the issue and caused a backlash, particularly in the Middle East. Over 200 Palestinians were killed during protests. 

Palestinians see East Jerusalem as their own future capital and view the move announced by Trump as backing Israeli control over the entire city, which Israel has occupied since 1967.

Among those in attendance on Monday will be Trump’s daughter Ivanka Trump and her husband Jared Kushner, both senior White House advisers, along with Treasury Secretary Steven Mnuchin and Deputy Secretary of State John Sullivan. The U.S. President is expected to deliver a speech on video.

Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdoğan, during a speech he delivered in in London on Monday, where he is on a three-day visit, said that East Jerusalem is the capital of Palestine, Turkish newspaper Sözcü reported.

‘’This was voted on by the UN and 128 countries were very clear about their stance,’’ Erdoğan said. ‘’Jerusalem, East Jerusalem in particular, is the capital of Palestine. This is how we see it in the Islamic world.’’

The Turkish President has been one of the most vocal critics of Trump’s recognition of Jerusalem as Israel’s capital, calling the United States Israel’s "partner in bloodshed."