World Bulletin / News Desk
The U.S. will move its embassy from Tel Aviv to Jerusalem on May 14th -- the day the state of Israel was established and officially recognized by Washington in 1948.
"We are planning to open the new U.S. Embassy to Israel in Jerusalem in May. The Embassy opening will coincide with Israel’s 70th anniversary," State Department spokesperson Heather Nauert said Friday in a written statement.
She said the embassy will initially be located in Jerusalem’s Arnona neighborhood, adding the existing U.S. consular facility there for issuing visas and for other diplomatic matters will be temporarily turned into an embassy.
The U.S. move, which will dispatch its ambassador to Israel and staff to Jerusalem, came after Secretary of State Rex Tillerson approved the final security plan for the relocation late Thursday, even though Vice President Mike Pence said earlier it would occur by the end of 2019.
The current embassy complex in Tel Aviv will still be in service as the U.S. consulate and will become a branch of the U.S. embassy in Jerusalem.
"In parallel, we have started the search for a site for our permanent Embassy to Israel, the planning and construction of which will be a longer-term undertaking," Nauert said.
"We are excited about taking this historic step and look forward with anticipation to the May opening."
The relocation plan was the United States’ first priority after President Donald Trump announced his decision to recognize Jerusalem as Israel's capital in December last year, which drew a storm of condemnation and protests across the Arab and Muslim world.
According to U.S. media reports, the U.S. ambassador to Israel has received many offers from Jewish donors who say they are willing to fund the new building for the project.
Trump has also considered accepting donations from well-known casino owner and business magnate Sheldon Adelson, who comes from a Jewish family, to help fund the project.
Additionally, according to the reports, the reason behind the donations for the embassy is to make it more difficult to reverse Trump's decision to move the embassy in the future.
According to Palestine’s official WAFA news agency, Nabil Abu Rudeineh, spokesman for Palestinian President Mahmoud Abbas, decried the decision.
“This is an unacceptable step. Unilateral steps will not give legitimacy to anyone and will hinder efforts to provide peace in the region.”
Saib Ureykat, Secretary General of the Palestine Liberation Organization, said President Trump and his team were no longer part of the Israel-Palestine solution and had become part of the problem.
Palestinian resistance group Hamas’ spokesman Abdel Latif al-Qanoua also criticized the decision, saying it would not legitimize the actions of occupier Israel and change the historical status and identity of Jerusalem.
Jerusalem remains at the heart of the Israel-Palestine conflict, with Palestinians hoping that East Jerusalem -- now occupied by Israel -- might eventually serve as the capital of a Palestinian state.
The meeting of the world's leading economies in Buenos Aires comes days before US tariffs on steel and aluminum are due to come into force on Friday for all countries except Canada and Mexico.
Meeting cancelled after Russia, China, Kazakhstan and Bolivia voted ‘no’
'Despite the oppression they face, Iranians are fighting to reclaim their rights,' U.S. president says
Nearly 800 FARC militants assumed to be in Guaviare district where air force carried out strike
Two civilians and one security officer dead, another two officers wounded
Elor Azaria, who killed an injured and unarmed Palestinian in 2016, is now set for release on May 10
The French Embassy in Tel Aviv says it was taking the case 'very seriously'
The ISIL terrorist was responsible for taking by force houses of security members in Mosul
Iraq suffers from acute financial crisis due to dropped oil prices and anti-terrorism expenses
Thousands of supporters poured into the streets of the capital island Male on Friday night and continued their protest rally till early Saturday, the joint opposition said in a statement issued in Colombo.
Also suspended were the accounts of its parent organization, Strategic Communication Laboratories, as well as those of University of Cambridge psychologist Aleksandr Kogan and Christopher Wylie, who runs Eunoia Technologies.
Andrew McCabe was accused of misleading investigators on Clinton Foundation corruption case
Assistant Secretary of State Wess Mitchell told reporters after talks with Cypriot President Nicos Anastasiades on Friday that the U.S. also wants to see a resumption of talks to reunify the ethnically divided island nation.