On February 23, U.S. State Department spokeswoman Heather Nauert announced that the U.S. will open its Israeli embassy in the city of Jerusalem in May.
U.S. President Donald Trump recognized Jerusalem as the capital of Israel on December 6, 2017 and announced that the U.S. will be moving its embassy at Israel to the holy city.
“In May, the United States plans to open a new US embassy in Jerusalem. The opening will coincide with Israel’s 70th anniversary,” said Nauert, according to the Israeli media outlet I24 News.
Reuters reported that the new U.S. embassy will be temporary located in the existing U.S. consular building in the Arnona neighborhood of Jerusalem. Meanwhile, the US began searching for a permanent site for its embassy, also in Arnona, according to Nauert’s statement.
Israel’s Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu welcomed Nauert’s announcement and described it as “a great day for the people of Israel,” according I24 News.
“It will turn Israel’s 70th Independence Day into an even greater national celebration … Thank you, President Trump, for your leadership and your friendship,” said Netanyahu.
On the other side, Nabil Abu Rdainah, a spokesman for Palestinian President Mahmoud Abbas condemned the US move, while Sami Abu Zuhri, an official of Hamas Movement described it as “a declaration of war against the Arab and Muslim nation.”
“This is an unacceptable step. Any unilateral move will not give legitimacy to anyone and will be an obstacle to any effort to create peace in the region,” said Abu Rdainah, according to Reuters.
Theopening of the U.S. embassy in Jerusalem city will likely provoke a new wave of protests in the Western Bank and the Gaza Strip. Palestinian activists had organized mass protests each Friday since December 6, 2017 to protest the US decision to recognize Jerusalem as Israel’s capital. Twenty Palestinian protestors were reportedly killed in these protests.