At 4:00 PM, the US will open its embassy in Jerusalem with an official ceremony. The event will be attended by senior Israeli and American officials, as well as representatives from dozens of foreign countries. Last night, Israel’s prime minister called on other states to follow in Washington’s footsteps and move their embassies to the holy city.
Jerusalem in red-blue-and-white Photo Credit: Hillel Maeir/TPS
For over two decades, US presidents have delayed the American embassy move to Jerusalem every six months by citing “national security” concerns. However, today (Monday), the embassy will be opened in Israel’s capital city.
While US President Donald Trump will not be attending the ceremony, the White House sent a high-level delegation to Jerusalem for the event. The delegation, headed by US Deputy Secretary of State John Sullivan, landed in Israel on Sunday afternoon. Representing the First Family are Trump’s daughter Ivanka and her husband Jared Kushner, both of whom are Jewish and hold official positions in the White House. The delegation also includes US Treasury Secretary Steven Mnuchin and Special Representative for International Negotiations Jason Greenblatt.
As the President stated in December, recognition of Jerusalem as the capital of Israel is simply a recognition of reality. Israel is a sovereign nation, and like every other sovereign nation, it has the right to determine its own capital. 5/11 https://t.co/xC9ROYHSvf
— Jason D. Greenblatt (@jdgreenblatt45) May 14, 2018
Last night, the Israeli Foreign Affairs Ministry held a gala event in Jerusalem in honor of the delegation. During the event, Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu thanked Trump for his “bold decision” and urged the leaders of other countries to move their embassies to Jerusalem as well.
I am honored to join the delegation representing @POTUS, his Admin & the American people at this momentous ceremony commemorating the opening of our new US Embassy in Jerusalem, Israel. We will pray for the boundless potential of the US-Israel alliance & we will pray for peace. pic.twitter.com/ulYbJAfTcL
— Ivanka Trump (@IvankaTrump) May 12, 2018
“I call on all countries to join the US in moving their embassies to Jerusalem. Move your embassies to Jerusalem because it’s the right thing to do,” he stated. “Move your embassies to Jerusalem because it advances peace, and that’s because you can’t base peace on a foundation of lies. You base peace on the foundations of truth, and the truth is that not only has Jerusalem been the capital of the Jewish people for millennia and the capital of our state from its inception, the truth is that under any peace agreement you could possibly imagine, Jerusalem will remain Israel’s capital.”
Watch: The US opens its embassy in Jerusalem
Dozens of foreign diplomats have confirmed that they plan to attend the opening of the US embassy, which will begin at 4:00 PM (local time). According to the Israeli Foreign Affairs Ministry, a total of 86 foreign diplomats were invited to the ceremony. Among the 33 foreign representatives who have confirmed their attendance are the ambassadors from Angola, Cameroon, Ethiopia, Kenya, Nigeria, Paraguay, Guatemala and Honduras.
From Europe, representatives from several countries—including Hungary, the Czech Republic and Bulgaria—are expected to be in attendance even though the European Union has publicly condemned the American decision to relocate its embassy to Jerusalem. Germany, Russia, Poland, Sweden, Mexico and Egypt are among the 10 countries that declined the invitation.