Israel Preps Big Festivity, But Many Diplomats Won't Go
Amid increasing Palestinian protests
By Newser Editors and Wire Services
Posted May 13, 2018 9:02 AM CDT
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A sign leading to the US Embassy in Jerusalem, Sunday, May 13, 2018. Monday's opening of the US Embassy in contested Jerusalem, cheered by Israelis as a historic validation, is seen by Palestinians as an in-your-face affirmation of pro-Israel bias by President Trump.   (AP Photo/Ariel Schalit)

(Newser) – Israel is preparing festivities Sunday to celebrate Monday's opening of the new US Embassy in Jerusalem, a move that has ignited Palestinian protests and raised fears of further violence. As Israel marks Jerusalem Day, the 51st anniversary of what it refers to as the city's "unification" following the 1967 war, it will also host a gala for Monday's embassy dedication that will include a delegation led by President Trump's daughter Ivanka, son-in-law Jared Kushner, and Treasury Secretary Steven Mnuchin. Dozens of foreign diplomats are expected, though many ambassadors of European nations who oppose the move will skip it. Israel captured east Jerusalem in 1967 and annexed it in a move not recognized internationally. The Palestinians want east Jerusalem as the capital of their future state, and view the relocation of the embassy from Tel Aviv to the contested city as a blatantly one-sided move that invalidates the US as a Mideast peace broker.

Trump's decision to recognize Jerusalem as Israel's capital ignited months of protests along the Israel-Gaza border that are expected to culminate Monday in parallel to the celebrations in Jerusalem. Since March 30, 42 Palestinians have been killed by Israeli fire in the weekly protests. More than 1,800 have been wounded. The protests are aimed to peak this week with the 70th anniversary of what the Palestinians call the "nakba," or catastrophe, referring to their mass uprooting during the Mideast war over Israel's 1948 creation. Organizers have indicated they may try to breach the Israeli border. Israeli PM Benjamin Netanyahu, meanwhile, said Israel would celebrate. "President Trump promised to recognize Jerusalem as the capital of Israel and he did so. He promised to move the American Embassy to Israel and he is doing so. Of course we will all celebrate this day, a real celebration," he said.


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