Why the USA embassy move to Jerusalem is so controversial

14 May, 2018, 20:41 | Author: Donnie King
  • Settlers accelerating facts on the ground at

The Palestine Liberation Organisation has decried Washington's embassy move as a "provocation to all Arabs", and the opening falls on May 14 which this year marks 70 years since Israel's declaration of independence - which Palestinians call Naqba, their "day of catastrophe".

Forty-three Palestinian protesters have been killed by Israeli fire during demonstrations ahead of the USA embassy inauguration in Jerusalem, the Palestinian health ministry said Monday.

"Unfortunately, the crossing is closed today and will remain closed until the foreseeable future due to severe damage caused by Palestinian rioters", said Lt. Col. Jonathan Conricus, a military spokesman.

Israeli warplanes also struck a Hamas base close to the border, the army said, saying forces had come under fire.

The Palestinian government denounced Monday's violence as a "terrible massacre" perpetrated "by the forces of the Israeli occupation", and called for an immediate worldwide intervention to prevent further deaths.

Witnesses say Israeli drones have dropped incendiary materials, setting ablaze tires that had been collected for use in a planned Gaza border protest.

Meanwhile, there have been months of protests by Palestinians in Gaza.

Jerusalem's status is perhaps the thorniest issue in the Israeli-Palestinian conflict.

The embassy's move from Tel Aviv is being celebrated by Israel but has triggered overwhelming global opposition.

A day before the embassy's formal opening, Israel hosted a gala party at its Foreign Ministry with President Donald Trump's daughter Ivanka, her husband, Jared Kushner, and other American VIPs.

More than 50 US diplomats will staff the Jerusalem embassy and the operation is expected to grow in coming months.

Palestinians seek East Jerusalem as the capital of a state they want to establish in the occupied West Bank and the Gaza Strip.

Health officials said 900 Palestinians were wounded, about 450 of them by live bullets.

"On the other hand, some say this is going to be great for real estate values because it's going to be such a secure area and people who work in the embassy are going to be looking for places to live".

Unconfirmed reports on Monday afternoon said hundreds of protesters had breached the security fence that surrounds the blockaded enclave.

At least 800 people were expected to attend the event, including a congressional delegation and a presidential delegation led by Deputy Secretary of State John Sullivan. It annexed East Jerusalem shortly later, claiming it as part of its "indivisible capital", in a move which was never recognized internationally.

Trump pledged during his campaign to move the USA embassy to Jerusalem, and in December he broke with longstanding policy by recognizing Jerusalem as Israel's capital.That same month, the U.N. General Assembly overwhelmingly adopted a resolution rejecting Trump's decisions regarding Jerusalem.

Demonstrators are also calling for Palestinian refugees who fled or were expelled during the 1948 war surrounding Israel's creation to be allowed to return to their homes now inside Israel.

Palestinian President Mahmoud Abbas called it a "slap in the face" and said the United States can no longer be regarded as an honest broker in any peace talks with Israel.

Trump's decision to shift the embassy to Jerusalem enraged many.

"We have the greatest love for the president, and we will win", the team's statement said, per The Jerusalem Post.

It would not have been so bad if Trump stressed he was specifying West Jerusalem as Israel's capital, which would have left open the possibility that East Jerusalem might still in future be that of the Palestinians.


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