United States embassy in Israel to be moved to Jerusalem

Risk of Violence Gauged 'Minute by Minute' Leading to Opening of US Embassy in Jerusalem

The United States is in the "late phases" of finalizing its Israeli-Palestinian peace plan that will be presented to both parties for consideration, according to a senior White House official, who discussed progress on the matter ahead of a massive celebration in Israel to open the new USA embassy in Jerusalem.

Netanyahu said that "under any peace agreement you could possibly imagine, Jerusalem will remain Israel's capital".

But Netanyahu insisted the embassy move is "the right thing to do" and ordered other countries to follow suit. About two-thirds of Gaza's 2 million people are descendants of Palestinian refugees.

"The Palestinian Jerusalemite today lives with a hundred sticks raining down his head", Osama Barham, an activist in the city, told Al Jazeera.

Another large-scale protest is planned for Tuesday, when Palestinians mark their "nakba", or catastrophe, referring to their mass uprooting during the Mideast war over Israel's 1948 creation. Revelers sang, danced and waved Israeli flags. The State Department spent about $400,000 to retrofit a consular building in Jerusalem's Arnona neighborhood, straddling West Jerusalem and what is called No Man's Land, a contested area that lies in between the 1949 armistice lines.

"We're not going to preview elements of the plan because no one is going to like everything in it-so anything you reveal is going to make someone angry because it will not be in context", the administration official said, explaining that the Trump administration is being extremely sensitive to both sides.

"The US embassy move is not the most important issue here", Barham said, explaining that for Palestinian residents such a development was merely the expected outcome after decades of occupation.

But US ambassador to Israel David Friedman, who has been a supporter of Israeli settlements in the West Bank, said he believed the Palestinians' position "will change over time".

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"It was clear that everyone decides for themselves, others have taken a different decision and I don't wish to say one is better or smarter than the other", Austrian Martin Weiss, Ambassador to Israel told i24NEWS at the reception.

Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu, taking a harder line than two predecessors, has said he won't give up any part of Jerusalem, home to 883,000 people, 38 per cent of them Palestinians.

"The reason is simple: For over 3,000 years it has been the capital of our people, and only of our people". I think tomorrow will be continued very strong coordinated security between the USA and Israel and we're hoping all that hard work pays off. "It will remain our capital for all time", he said.

"It's been the capital of our state for the past 70 years".

She is one of five US officials who are part of the delegation for the opening, led by Deputy Secretary of State John J. Sullivan, that President Donald Trump will not attend. Netanyahu called their presence a "national and worldwide statement" that "touches our hearts". "Who is Trump to come and say Jerusalem is Israel?"

Jeremy Ben-Ami, president of J Street, a liberal pro-Israel group in the USA, expressed concern that the embassy move would backfire.

The embassy move has provoked Palestinian anger and led them to freeze ties with the White House.

"Making a move like this removes the U.S.as a credible mediator", he said.

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