At a historic ceremony graced by Israeli Prime Minister Benyamin Netanyahu, Senior White House Advisor and President Trump’s son-in-law Jared Kushner and his wife Ivanka as well as senior American officials, the American Embassy was opened in Jerusalem amid celebratory speeches and a personal message from President Donald Trump.
Jared Kushner, in his speech said, “We believe it is possible for both sides to gain more than they give — so that all people can live in peace — safe from danger, free from fear, and able to pursue their dreams. Jerusalem must remain a city that brings people of all faiths together.”
The Israeli Prime Minister thanked the US President for keeping to his promises while tracing the history of Jerusalem from Abraham the Jewish Patriarch to King Solomon who built the first temple to the present day. He said “This is a great day. A great day for Jerusalem. A great day for the state of Israel. A day that will be engraved in our national memory for generations” and referred to Jerusalem as the “eternal undivided capital of Israel”
While the US claims the move will aid regional stability, many say on the contrary it will inflame tensions and aggravate the already endangered peace moves. Most countries say the status of Jerusalem – a sacred city to Jews, Muslims and Christians – should be determined in a final peace settlement and the move to establish a diplomatic presence there would prejudice such a peace move.
Meanwhile, at least 52 people have been killed and over 2,400 injured in protests on the Israeli-Palestinian border in Gaza, the largest number killed in a single day since the protests began over six weeks ago.
In its reaction, Iran has said the move will hasten the annihilation of Israel. “The catastrophic measure will bring more unity and solidarity among world Muslims in defending their sanctities while speeding up annihilation of the fake Zionist regime,” said Ali Shamkhani, Secretary of Iran’s Supreme National Security Council, as reported by state-run IRNA News Agency.
France, a long-standing ally said the embassy move violated international law. In a statement by its Foreign Ministry, France called for responsibility from all actors to prevent a new fire. “This decision contravenes international law and in particular the resolutions of the Security Council and the UN General Assembly. It is urgent to recreate the conditions necessary for a search for a political solution, in a region already marked by strong tensions,” the statement said.
Nigeria and thirty-two other countries attended the ceremony while most countries in the European Union stayed away.