U.S. Embassy Opening in Jerusalem Tomorrow
EU attempted to issue a statement condemning the move but was overruled by EU members Hungary, the Czech Republic and Romania.
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Another one of President Trump’s promises is about to be fulfilled tomorrow, May 14, when the United States opens its embassy in the building that previous served as the Jerusalem consulate. The new embassy will have a limited staff while a larger facility is being built over the next three years that will eventually house the full embassy staff presently located in Tel Aviv. The Jerusalem embassy is expected to be fully operational in three years' time.
The U.S. dedication plaque will be unveiled in the ceremony taking place tomorrow.
To enable the opening of the embassy, a new access road and an emergency escape route had to be immediately paved and perimeter lighting installed.
President Trump announced he would move the embassy to Jerusalem in December. He overruled his previous Secretary of State who talked of moving the embassy in several years time and decided that the official transfer would take place on Israel’s 70th anniversary this year.
U.S. Ambassador to Israel David Friedman posted a video to the "U.S. Embassy Jerusalem" Facebook page of himself standing with signs behind him reading "Trump is a Friend of Zion" and "Trump Make Israel Great." He signed off in Hebrew and English with the words "This year in Jerusalem," a take off on the Jewish mantra, "Next year in Jerusalem."
Friedman emphasized at a press conference on Friday that the relocation of the U.S. Embassy from Tel Aviv to Jerusalem is first and foremost in "the interests of the United States."
The White House sent a presidential delegation to the event that includes Ambassador Friedman, Treasury Secretary Steven Mnuchin, Trump's daughter Ivanka and her husband, senior adviser Jared Kushner, and special envoy Jason Greenblatt. A congressional delegation will also be present. More than 1,000 people have been invited to the official opening ceremony.
Although President Trump couldn’t come for the historic event, he tweeted on Saturday, "Big week next week when the American Embassy in Israel will be moved to Jerusalem. Congratulations to all!" He has recorded a congratulatory video message that will be played at the event and will also host an event in Washington in honor of the relocation of the embassy.
In celebration of the event, U.S. and Israeli flags have been hung from city street lights and the Bridge of Strings at the entrance to Jerusalem will be lit in the colors of the U.S. flag.
Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu will host a special reception in honor of Jerusalem Day and the embassy relocation to which the ambassadors of all the missions to Israel have been invited. However, only 30 are expected to attend.
The dismayed Europeans in particular are not expected to take part in the festivities. The EU sought to condemn the embassy's transfer in an official statement, but member-states Hungary, the Czech Republic and Romania prevented them from doing so.
Israel Shortcut’s chairman remarks that moving the embassy is the right thing to do for reasons other than political ones. Jerusalem has the largest concentration of American citizens in Israel and having the American embassy nearby will foster stronger ties with them.