Today's Paper Latest stories Obits Traffic Newsletters Weather Puzzles
ADVERTISEMENT
ADVERTISEMENT
story.lead_photo.caption Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu delivers a speech Monday at the opening ceremony for the U.S. Embassy in Jerusalem.

JERUSALEM -- An American delegation including White House officials and major GOP donors officially opened the U.S. Embassy in Jerusalem on Monday, handing Israel a long-sought victory but touching off more clashes with protesting Palestinians.

The ceremony -- attended by President Donald Trump's daughter Ivanka -- capped Trump's pledge to shift the U.S. Embassy from Tel Aviv to offer diplomatic recognition to Israel's claim of Jerusalem as its capital.

But the backdrop underscored the repercussions unleashed by the decision.

European allies offered more denunciations of the move as a serious blow to peace efforts between Israelis and Palestinians, who also view part of Jerusalem as the capital for a possible future state.

On the Gaza Strip border, deadly confrontations broke out Monday in what was the bloodiest day during a wave of Palestinian protests against Israel's blockade of the area.

The Arab League called an emergency meeting to discuss the "illegal" U.S. Embassy shift, and the 57-nation Organization of Islamic Cooperation called the move an "attack on the historical, legal, natural and national rights of the Palestinian people."

Turkey said it was recalling its ambassador to the United States over the embassy move, saying it "disregarded the legitimate rights of the Palestinian people" and would "not serve peace, security and stability in the region." Turkey also recalled its ambassador to Israel after what it called a "massacre" of Palestinians on the Gaza border.

South Africa, a fervent supporter of the Palestinians, also recalled its ambassador for consultations, the Israeli Foreign Ministry said.

Even as the embassy ceremony unfolded, the call for afternoon prayers from a mosque in mostly Arab East Jerusalem could be heard.

For many Israelis, the official move of the embassy is a cause for celebration even though the shift was mostly symbolic -- adding a new embassy plaque to the existing U.S. Consulate in Jerusalem.

Most countries say their embassies will remain in Tel Aviv until Israelis and Palestinians reach some sort of peace agreement.

"This is a hostile act against international law and against the people of Palestine," said Saeb Erekat, secretary-general of the Palestine Liberation Organization, speaking of the embassy move. "It places the U.S. on the side of the occupying power."

The U.S. ambassador to Israel, David Friedman, started the proceedings by recalling the declaration of the state of Israel by then-Prime Minister David Ben Gurion 70 years ago.

"Seventy years later, the United States is taking the next step of moving the embassy to Jerusalem," he said. "Again the United States leads the way in taking this step."

In a recorded video message, Trump noted Israel's right "to determine its own capital" and pledged U.S. support for peace efforts and the status quo agreements for sites holy to different faiths. Trump noted the Arabic name for the Temple Mount -- Haram al-Sharif -- which is venerated in Judaism, Christianity and Islam.

But Trump did not directly address Palestinians' grievances over the embassy move or a boycott of the Trump administration by Palestinian Authority President Mahmoud Abbas.

"May there be peace," Trump said in the video message to the crowd, which included Ivanka Trump; Donald Trump's son-in-law, Jared Kushner; and a host of political, religious and communal leaders.

"A great day for Israel," Trump wrote earlier in a tweet.

Present at the event were some top Republican backers, including GOP donor and casino magnate Sheldon Adelson. "This is an important event for all Jews," Adelson said.

Trump has boasted of how he has managed to keep the costs down for the embassy move. In an apparent nod to the bottom line, only pretzels and water were served to some 800 guests at the event.

The embassy operations, for the moment, will be mostly a work in progress inside the consulate.

The first phase involves shifting just the ambassador and core staff to Jerusalem -- less than a half-dozen people -- according to a U.S. official, who spoke on the condition of anonymity to discuss the plans.

That first move, including building modifications and additional security, cost less than $400,000, another U.S. official said. The facility will still conduct consular functions -- documents, passports and other services for U.S. citizens -- but will also be the official nerve center for the embassy and its diplomatic duties.

Even the current location is sensitive, located partially in an area designated "no man's land" in a 1949 armistice agreement. The United Nations considers that land to be occupied territory, though the U.S. says that in practice the area has been in continuous Israeli use since 1949.

Speaking at the event, Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu said it was a "glorious day."

"Remember this moment; this is history," he said. "President Trump, by recognizing history, you have made history."

Later, he tweeted a photograph of himself and his wife, Sara, with Ivanka Trump and Kushner and the new plaque.

"What a great day for the great American-Israeli alliance," he wrote.

Palestinians view it as a betrayal of Washington's decades-old role as a potential broker for a peace deal with Israel.

"Outside of the U.S. and a few other countries, most of the world is against this move," said Ayman Odeh, leader of the Arab faction in Israel's parliament. Despite being invited to the opening ceremony, he objected by boycotting the event.

"Most want to see peace created along the lines that existed in 1967," he said. "This is a one-sided move that strengthens occupation and moves us further from peace."

Just a few blocks from the site, scuffles broke out between Israeli forces and protesters, including Palestinian residents of Jerusalem and Israeli-Arab members of Israel's parliament. Fourteen people were arrested, Israeli police spokesman Micky Rosenfeld said.

Odeh drew a direct line between the embassy opening and the deaths in Gaza.

"The opening of the American embassy in Jerusalem and its grand ceremony is part of the same policy that has claimed the lives of dozens of Gazans," he said. "Today, there is nothing to celebrate. The opening of the embassy is yet another provocative step that signals the destruction of the notion of peace."

PRAISE FROM GOP

Even as it sparked deadly protests in the Mideast, President Trump's decision to relocate the embassy united a cross-section of the GOP. It injected new energy into the evangelical movement, which has long wanted the embassy moved because of the deep religious significance of the area. And it pleased big donors and allowed Trump to claim another campaign promise kept.

"Above all else, we've shown that the United States of America will do what's right. And so we have," Kushner, Trump's top Mideast adviser, declared at the event.

Top officials with the Republican National Committee, along with a delegation of four Republican senators, 10 Republican congressmen and one Republican governor, cheered Kushner from the gallery. The RNC's new finance chairman, Tom Ricketts, attended. Adelson watched from the front row minutes earlier as Ivanka Trump and Treasury Secretary Steven Mnuchin unveiled the embassy's new facade.

"I did it for my constituents -- their love and affection for the people of Israel," said Rep. Joe Wilson, R-S.C., who organized the U.S. delegation's visit. He said he was also pleased by the Adelson family's reaction.

"Just to see their joy was a moment of happiness for me," Wilson said of Adelson, who in recent days donated $30 million to a super PAC focused on helping the House GOP retain its majority this fall.

Not a single elected Democrat attended the celebration in Israel. Most were silent Monday as the ceremony unfolded on television. A few, including Senate Minority Leader Charles Schumer of New York, issued written statements of support.

"Every nation should have the right to choose its capital. I sponsored legislation to do this two decades ago, and I applaud President Trump for doing it," the top Senate Democrat said in a rare moment of agreement with the Republican president.

Wilson said he personally invited "a significant number" of Democrats to attend the festivities in person, but many cited scheduling conflicts.

Sen. Dianne Feinstein, D-Calif., called the deadly protests in Gaza "just heartbreaking." She called on the administration to state its "unequivocal support" for a two-state solution and restart negotiations.

"The location of the embassy is a final-status issue that should have been resolved as part of peace negotiations where both sides benefit, not just one side," Feinstein said.

Those who arrived to celebrate the opening of the embassy dismissed claims that the move undermines the chances for peace between Israelis and Palestinians.

Traveling with the official delegation, Sen. Lindsey Graham, R-S.C., said that now is the "right time" to move the embassy.

"It's been U.S. policy since 1995, and if you have a problem, then you need to take it up with God," said Graham, referring to legislation approved by Congress. The legislation included a waiver allowing presidents to delay the move by six months at a time, which had been used by successive presidents until now.

"In a fractured Middle East, now is the time for America to have Israel's back," said Graham. "If there ever are two states, then maybe the Palestinians will make East Jerusalem their capital. Only time will tell."

Trump's national security adviser, John Bolton, asserted that moving the embassy from Tel Aviv is "a recognition of reality" that ends the United States and Israel "operating on a completely different wavelength."

"Recognizing reality always enhances the chances for peace," Bolton added.

Information for this article was contributed by Ruth Eglash, Brian Murphy and Sufian Taha of The Washington Post; and by Steve Peoples, Aron Heller, Anne Flaherty, Catherine Lucey, Zeke Miller, Josh Lederman, Fares Akram, Josef Federman, Ilan Ben Zion, Mohammed Daraghmeh and Karin Laub of The Associated Press.

A Section on 05/15/2018

Print Headline: Embassy opens in Jerusalem; U.S. praises move; allies denounce it

Sponsor Content

Comments

You must be signed in to post comments
  • cwbird
    May 15, 2018 at 8:08 a.m.

    I think that it is absolutely wonderful that the US has finally officially recognized Jerusalem as Israel's capital. I do credit Donald Trump for having the guts to do it

    I believe that it is doubly wonderful that the Palestinians in particular are very angry about it. But I also remember that the Palestinians are the descendants of the Philistines of the Bible.

    Remember that perhaps the most famous of the Philistines was a giant of a man (estimated to be at least nine feet tall) named Goliath. He stood taunting Israel to come and fight him, that if he was defeated the Philistines would become their slaves. All the Israeli warriors were terrified, except the young boy David, definitely not a warrior, who came to the battlefield to bring his older brothers some food. David was incensed at the taunts and insisted that he would fight Goliath. Without armor, he took five small stones to hurl at Goliath with his slingshot. The first stone hit Goliath in the forehead and killed him. He then chopped off Goliath's head with Goliath's own sword. It was then that the Philistines did flee.

    The Palestinians, like Goliath, are all mouth. Instead of being terrified by the Palestinian (and other Arab and Muslim) threats and continuing to try to negotiate a peace with them, we need to recognize that the only real objective of the Palestinians (and all Arabs and Muslims) is to destroy Israel and that their only real plan is to talk them to death. Because of this objective, they will never negotiate in good faith. Never. You never negotiate with people who do not negotiate in good faith. Never.

    I aslo recall a poem by Rudyard Kipling published in 1911 that describes the Danish conquering of England a thousand years ago:

    Dane-Geld
    A.D. 980-1016

    It is always a temptation to an armed and agile nation
    To call upon a neighbour and to say: --
    "We invaded you last night--we are quite prepared to fight,
    Unless you pay us cash to go away."

    And that is called asking for Dane-geld,
    And the people who ask it explain
    That you've only to pay 'em the Dane-geld
    And then you'll get rid of the Dane!

    It is always a temptation for a rich and lazy nation,
    To puff and look important and to say: --
    "Though we know we should defeat you, we have not the time to meet you.
    We will therefore pay you cash to go away."

    And that is called paying the Dane-geld;
    But we've proved it again and again,
    That if once you have paid him the Dane-geld
    You never get rid of the Dane.

    It is wrong to put temptation in the path of any nation,
    For fear they should succumb and go astray;
    So when you are requested to pay up or be molested,
    You will find it better policy to say: --

    "We never pay any-one Dane-geld,
    No matter how trifling the cost;
    For the end of that game is oppression and shame,
    And the nation that pays it is lost!"

  • mrcharles
    May 15, 2018 at 8:21 a.m.

    Cw, you forgot to mention David was an adulterer, a bandit, a murderer, a thief and a killer of innocents. A real hero to your group of demented parrots.

    It was the best of times. It was the worst of times.

    A curse on both your houses!

    CW, you are a tool of the god of this world. Nothing personal.

  • TimberTopper
    May 15, 2018 at 8:34 a.m.

    cw, you need to consider seeing if a doctor is able to help you. All you, Donald Trump, and others of like minds have done is to make the people of Israel never know peace. Tell us all how you would like for the American Indians to come take all of your and your families' assets and land away.

  • GeneralMac
    May 15, 2018 at 9:01 a.m.

    Yesterday PopMom was pulling a " Baghdad Bob" for the Palestinians.

    Decrying the killing of those " poor little Palestinian kids" by Israeli soldiers.

    FACT CHECK, Baghdad Bob ,,,,,,,,,,,those " innocent" were ordered there by Hamas and were lobbing molotov cocktails at the soldiers.

    If any blood is on hands it is on Hamas' hands

  • condoleezza
    May 15, 2018 at 9:02 a.m.

    As of Tuesday morning, the Gaza Ministry of Health released the names of 57 Palestinians killed:

    1. Laila Anwar Al-Ghandoor, 8 months old

    2. Ezz el-din Musa Mohamed Alsamaak, 14 years old

    3. Wisaal Fadl Ezzat Alsheikh Khalil, 15 years old

    4. Ahmed Adel Musa Alshaer, 16 years old

    5. Saeed Mohamed Abu Alkheir, 16 years old

    6. Ibrahim Ahmed Alzarqa, 18 years old

    7. Eman Ali Sadiq Alsheikh, 19 years old

    8. Zayid Mohamed Hasan Omar, 19 years old

    9. Motassem Fawzy Abu Louley, 20

    10. Anas Hamdan Salim Qadeeh, 21 years old

    11. Mohamed Abd Alsalam Harz, 21 years old

    12. Yehia Ismail Rajab Aldaqoor, 22 years old

    13. Mustafa Mohamed Samir Mahmoud Almasry, 22 years old

    14. Ezz Eldeen Nahid Aloyutey, 23 years old

    15. Mahmoud Mustafa Ahmed Assaf, 23 years old

    16. Ahmed Fayez Harb Shahadah, 23 years old

    17. Ahmed Awad Allah, 24 years old

    18. Khalil Ismail Khalil Mansor, 25 years old

    19. Mohamed Ashraf Abu Sitta, 26 years old

    20. Bilal Ahmed Abu Diqah, 26 years old

    21. Ahmed Majed Qaasim Ata Allah, 27 years old

    22. Mahmoud Rabah Abu Maamar, 28 years old

    23.Musab Yousef Abu Leilah, 28 years old

    24. Ahmed Fawzy Altetr, 28 years old

    25. Mohamed Abdelrahman Meqdad, 28 years old

    26. Obaidah Salim Farhan, 30 years old

    27. Jihad Mufid Al-Farra, 30 years old

    28. Fadi Hassan Abu Salah, 30 years old

    29. Motaz Bassam Kamil Al-Nunu, 31 years old

    30. Mohammed Riyad Abdulrahman Alamudi, 31 years old

    31. Jihad Mohammed Othman Mousa, 31 years old

    32. Shahir Mahmoud Mohammed Almadhoon, 32 years old

    33. Mousa Jabr Abdulsalam Abu Hasnayn, 35 years old

    34. Mohammed Mahmoud Abdulmoti Abdal’al, 39 years old

    35. Ahmed Mohammed Ibrahim Hamdan, 27 years old

    36. Ismail Khalil Ramadhan Aldaahuk, 30 years old

    37. Ahmed Mahmoud Mohammed Alrantisi, 27 years old

    38. Alaa Alnoor Ahmed Alkhatib, 28 years old

    39. Mahmoud Yahya Abdawahab Hussain, 24 years old

    40. Ahmed Abdullah Aladini, 30 years old

    41. Saadi Said Fahmi Abu Salah, 16 years old

    42. Ahmed Zahir Hamid Alshawa, 24 years old

    43. Mohammed Hani Hosni Alnajjar, 33 years old

    44. Fadl Mohamed Ata Habshy, 34 years old

    45. Mokhtar Kaamil Salim Abu Khamash, 23 years old

    46. Mahmoud Wael Mahmoud Jundeyah, 21 years old

    47. Abdulrahman Sami Abu Mattar, 18 years old

    48. Ahmed Salim Alyaan Aljarf, 26 years old

    49. Mahmoud Sulayman Ibrahim Aql, 32 years old

    50. Mohamed Hasan Mustafa Alabadilah, 25 years old

    51. Kamil Jihad Kamil Mihna, 19 years old

    52. Mahmoud Saber Hamad Abu Taeemah, 23 years old

    53. Ali Mohamed Ahmed Khafajah, 21 years old

    54. Abdelsalam Yousef Abdelwahab, 39 years old

    55. Mohamed Samir Duwedar, 27 years old

    56. Talal Adel Ibrahim Mattar, 16 years old

    57. Omar Jomaa Abu Ful, 30 years old

    58 - 60: Unidentified

  • GeneralMac
    May 15, 2018 at 9:04 a.m.

    Naive TreeTrimmer mentions that Israel " may never know peace".

    How in the world can Israel ..EVER.....know peace when certain Muslims want them...." wiped off the face of the earth"

    ( also Muslim sympathizers who post here..........DoubleBlind )

  • GeneralMac
    May 15, 2018 at 9:08 a.m.

    doggood........57 LESS people who want Israel wiped off the face of the earth.

    Maybe our Muslim sympathizing ex-president ( Barack HUSSEIN Obama ) should call and order flowers.

  • condoleezza
    May 15, 2018 at 9:20 a.m.

    GeneralessMac. You seem like a real fine Christian. Not.

  • PopMom
    May 15, 2018 at 10:03 a.m.

    The situation was at least stable in the Middle East. Now, Trump has riled up the Palestinians and the Iranians. Israel is now less safe. The families of those 57 who died yesterday will seek vengeance, and the cycle of war and violence will continue. Why couldn't we have announced a capital in Jerusalem for the Palestinian state at the same time so the region could move toward peace?

    cwbird is a wacko. There are good and bad people of every color, ethnicity, and religion.

  • PopMom
    May 15, 2018 at 10:05 a.m.

    GeneralMac,

    Maybe if we encouraged Israel to show a little restraint and diplomacy, fewer Arabs would want to wipe it off the face of the earth.

ADVERTISEMENT
ADVERTISEMENT
ADVERTISEMENT