US embassy officially opens in Jerusalem

A new road sign indicating the way to the new US embassy in Jerusalem is seen on May 7, 2018. (AFP)

The ceremony to inaugurate the United States' controversial embassy in Jerusalem began on Monday after deadly clashes along the Gaza Strip's border with Israel earlier in the day.

The ceremony moving the US embassy in Israel from Tel Aviv to Jerusalem began with the US national anthem.

Arabs to discuss 'illegal' US embassy move to Jerusalem

The Arab League will hold emergency talks Wednesday to discuss Washington's "illegal" decision to move the US embassy in Israel to Jerusalem, a senior official said.

The meeting will focus on "ways of countering the illegal decision by the United States to move the embassy to Jerusalem", the organization’s deputy secretary general for Palestinian affairs, Saeed Abu Ali, said.

He told reporters the permanent representatives of members of the Cairo-based Arab League would meet "at the request of the state of Palestine".

Jordan denounced the embassy move as a "clear violation" of the UN charter.

In a statement, it also "condemned" a unilateral decision by US President Donald Trump to recognize Jerusalem as the capital of Israel, despite Palestinian claims to part of the disputed city.

Jordan is the only other Arab country besides Egypt to have ties with Israel, and it is also the custodian of Muslim holy sites in Jerusalem.

The status of the holy city -- home also to Christian and Jewish shrines -- is perhaps the thorniest issue in the decades-long Israeli-Palestinian conflict.

Israel considers the entire city its capital, while the Palestinians see east Jerusalem as the capital of their future state.

The US embassy was set to open in Jerusalem on Monday afternoon despite a global outcry and Palestinian anger over the decision.

Hours before the inauguration, at least 25 Palestinians were killed by Israeli fire along the Gaza border, the Gazan health ministry said, as mass protests and clashes erupted against the embassy transfer.

Gaza protests

Gaza's Health Ministry says the number of Palestinian protesters killed by Israeli army fire near the Gaza border has risen to 41. Monday's deaths bring to 81 the number of protesters killed since mass border protests against a decade-old blockade of the Hamas-ruled territory began in late March.

Palestinian President Mahmoud Abbas's spokesman said on Monday that the opening of the US embassy in Jerusalem would create incitement and instability in the region and ruled out Washington as being a mediator for Middle East peace.

"With this step, the US administration has cancelled its role in the peace process and has insulted the world, the Palestinian people and the Arab and the Islamic nation and it has created incitement and instability,” said Abbas spokesman Nabil Abu Rdeineh.

Trump, in a recorded message at a ceremony opening the US embassy, said on Monday he remained committed to peace between Israel and the Palestinians.
 

 

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