USA confirms Jerusalem embassy opening in May

Mr Trump officially recognised Jerusalem as Israel's capital in December, despite fury from the Palestinians and warnings from Western allies.

Officials said the new U.S. Embassy in Jerusalem will open in May 2018 to coincide with the 70th anniversary of Israel declaring independence.

"The Embassy will initially be located in Arnona, on a compound that now houses the consular operations of Consulate General Jerusalem", he continued. According to a senior administration official, the temporary location will house Ambassador David Friedman and a small staff, while other operations will continue from the existing embassy building in Tel-Aviv.

Abu Rudaineh said that PA President Mahmoud Abbas's speech at the United Nations Security Council this week was "the only serious key to achieving peace and stability in the region and the world".

Last month, Vice President Mike Pence told the Israeli Parliament that the new embassy would open "before the end of next year". It is widely feared that moving the embassy from Tel Aviv will push back already moribund efforts to achieve peace between Israel and the Palestinians, and could result in renewed violence.

Abraham Foxman
Abraham Foxman

"This is an unacceptable step".

Trump said his defiant move - making good on a 2016 presidential campaign pledge - marked the start of a "new approach" to solving the Israeli-Palestinian conflict.

The status of Jerusalem - home to sites holy to the Muslim, Jewish and Christian religions - has been one of the thorniest issues in long-running Mideast peace efforts.

In the Jerusalem case, it would add yet another layer of controversy to Trump's politically charged decision to move the embassy, given Adelson's longstanding affiliation with right-wing Israeli politics. "I was hit by more countries, more pressure, begging me 'don't do it, don't do it!'. Don't do it. Don't do it, '" Trump said.

"Trump and his team have disqualified the United States from being part of the solution between Israelis and Palestinians; rather, the world now sees that they are part of the problem", Erekat said. He said that ultimately, his administration "did the right thing".

  • Aubrey Nash